Patriots will need better performance in AFC title game

This won’t be good enough next week for the New England Patriots, who played arguably their worst game of the season in Saturday night’s 34-16 victory over the Houston Texans in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs.

The Texans aren’t good enough on offense to capitalize. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs are good enough.
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David Savard Womens Jersey That’s the biggest takeaway from what unfolded at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots’ three turnovers, uncharacteristic penalties and shaky pass protection from the interior of the offensive line created some anxious moments in a game many predicted would be a blowout but was instead close entering the fourth quarter. The Texans’ defense deserves some credit for that, too.

“It doesn¡¯t feel great because we worked pretty hard to play a lot better than we played,” said quarterback Tom Brady, whose 47.4 completion percentage was the lowest of his playoff career. “I give them a lot of credit, but we¡¯re going to have to play better on offense.”

Turnovers can be the great equalizer in the NFL, and the Patriots are usually among the best in the league in that area. Their 11 giveaways during the regular season tied with the Atlanta Falcons for fewest in the NFL, and the total was the lowest for any team since the San Francisco 49ers had just 10 in the 2011 season.

Outcome: The Seahawks got the ball, all right, but on the sixth play of their second possession, Hasselbeck threw an interception to Green Bay Packers cornerback Al Harris. Fifty-two yards later, Harris scored the game-winning touchdown. Whoops.

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