Field Yates | ESPNBoston.com
Asked to respond to Houston Texans defensive lineman Antonio Smith‘s comments that he was “very suspicious” of the Patriots after key halftime adjustments led to 27 second-half points and a come-from-behind New England victory, quarterback Tom Brady said Monday that his team simply picked up its level of play.
“You know, truthfully, we just played a little bit better in the second half,” Brady said on the “Dennis & Callahan show” on WEEI sports radio in Boston. “We’ve kind of been through a lot of this before. I don’t really think much of it, truthfully. I just kind of have moved on. I’ve already started work on the Cleveland Browns [the Patriots’ Week 14 opponent], trying to find a way to play those guys better and get off to a better start.”
After largely being kept in check in the first half, the Patriots scored points on their first five possessions in the second half, including three touchdowns.
Smith said after the game that the Patriots anticipated wrinkles to the Texans’ defense that the team installed last week and had not previously been seen on film.
“I just think it will be a big coincidence if that just happened by chance,” he said. “I don’t know for sure, but I just know it was something that we practiced this week.”
“Either teams are spying on us or scouting us,” he added.
Under coach Bill Belichick, the Patriots have long been regarded as one of the best teams at making adjustments during halftime.
Belichick was asked Monday whether he had seen Smith’s comments.
“Yeah, I saw them. I don’t have any comment on them. That’s a league matter,” he said.
The Patriots’ offense, which had been limited to seven points in its past two first halves, has scored 61 points after halftime in consecutive comeback wins. It has scored touchdowns on at least its first two drives to open the second half in three straight games.
Brady noted Monday that halftime adjustments are regular occurrences around the league and dissected in part what has made the Patriots proficient in that area.
“If you have like a bad first drive, you don’t really come over to the sideline and go, ‘All right, guys, we’ve gotta change everything. Let’s scrap all the crap we’ve been practicing all week and just start making stuff up on the fly,'” he said.
“But I think by halftime you have really a good enough sample size to figure out how the game is being played, the things, the matchups that go in our favor, the matchups that don’t go in our favor. Maybe there’s some new things that they’ve done that we’ve got to adjust to, but ultimately, after halftime you get a chance to evaluate and say, ‘Well, how did that half play out?’
“You’ve got to be able to stick with it, stick with what we’re doing, kind of what we did against Denver,” he continued. “Or last week, we said, ‘OK, these are some of the things we’re going to get to and these are the matchups we like, and we’ve got to start making the plays that we’re capable of making.'”
The 34-31 victory pushed the AFC East-leading Patriots to 9-3. The Texans are a league-worst 2-10. Sunday’s loss was Houston’s 10th in a row.