The two-win Texans jumped out to an early 10-0 lead Sunday before the Patriots stormed back in the second half, eventually winning on a late Stephen Gostkowski field goal. But after the game, Houston defensive end Antonio Smith was skeptical of just how quickly New England's offense was able to adjust, primarily because defensive coordinator Wade Phillips had introduced several never-before-seen wrinkles.
"I'm very suspicious," Smith told a group of reporters afterwards. "I just think it will be a big coincidence if that just happened by chance. I don't know for sure, but I just know it was something that we practiced this week."
Smith wouldn't offer specifics but he remained dubious nonetheless.
"I can't tell you an example because it's G-15 classified," he said. "It's a defensive thing that we might continue to use. ... The way, I'm trying to say it without giving it away. When you watch film of the team do something a certain way all the time no matter what team they play -- it's been 12 games played and they always did it -- and then all of a sudden it's changed? It was pretty clever and pretty suspicious. ...
“You can tell they changed their scheme in the second half,” Smith continued, via the Houston Chronicle. “It's miraculous they changed some things on offense that keyed on what we put on this week to stop what they were doing. They did things they never did all year before. It was a specific thing that was important to what we were going to do today, as to how we were going to call the defense. We'd not ever did it before, and they never changed like that before. It just let me know that something wasn't right.
“Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are among the best at their craft because they work so hard at their craft. But you have to be a descendent of ‘Tones-tradamus' to know what we put in this week to be able to change that fast. I got the only crystal ball in existence. I don't know what it is. Either teams are spying on us or something's going on.”
So was Smith saying the Patriots' offense knew what the Texans' D was going to do before the snap?
"I'm saying it seemed like it," Smith clarified. "You can't never be for sure on anything because I ain't over there in their huddle, in their locker room, but it just felt like it."