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January 12, 2013

Pats, Texans hungry to keep title hopes alive

(Continued)

Focused on the future.

The past — that 28-point romp last month — has no bearing on the rematch, coaches and players from both teams insist.

“I think it’s a bunch of garbage,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “The game will have its own elements and it will write its own story.”

Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is tired of all the talk about that beating his team took.

“Obviously, we didn’t play good last time we were up there,” he said. “I don’t think we need to keep rehashing it. I think we just need to play our style of football.”

That style depends on Arian Foster running the ball. Do that well and the Texans can maintain possession and keep Tom Brady and the Patriots’ league-best offense on the sideline.

It worked last Saturday against much weaker competition. The Texans outgained the Bengals 420 yards to 198 and held the ball for 38:49 compared to 21:11 for Cincinnati. Foster ran 32 times and caught eight passes, a total of 40 plays. The Bengals had just 48 plays all game.

And Foster’s 140 yards rushing made him the only player with at least 100 in each of first three playoff games.

“There’s nothing he can’t do,” Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said. “He catches the ball extremely well. He blocks very well. The little things, as far as seeing somebody, it’s almost like a chess move. He knows a couple moves ahead when a guy is coming so he doesn’t take a solid shot.”

The weak link could be quarterback Matt Schaub. He threw for more than 4,000 yards for the third time in four years, but in his last five games has just one touchdown pass and four interceptions. His passer rating against the Patriots of 68.8 was his third lowest of the season.

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