New England Patriots defeat Houston Texans, 40-7

It was a cinch, but not a clinch.

So while there were plenty of smiles among Patriots players yesterday following their 40-7 pasting of the Texans, it was hardly over-the-top elation.

Linebacker Tedy Bruschi seemed to sum up the tenor of the locker room.

"We really haven't even done anything yet," he said. "We're still in a race. We're not in the playoffs, so what have we done up to this point? Nothing. That's why I'm not getting excited, because I don't see any [cha...

You are a fool if you prepare for any National Football League game expecting to thrash your opponent. The Patriots are far too sophisticated to err in that manner.

But that didn't prevent New England from being hell-bent on winning, and winning big, yesterday against the Texans.

"We feel like we squandered an opportunity last week [against Miami]," said linebacker Rosevelt Colvin. "Guys wanted to come in here with extra, extra, extra focus. We needed to make a state...

Yesterday what was important was not what the Patriots did but what they did not do.

They did not fumble the ball. They did not throw interceptions. They did not commit penalties. They did not come out flat. They did not, in other words, continue to be trapped in the malaise that seemed to engulf them following their hard-fought victory over the Chicago Bears three weeks ago.

Ever since that bone-crushing victory, the Patriots have been in a funk. They've been shroud...

Kevin Faulk began the game for the Patriots with a bang and ended it as a limper.

The eighth-year running back from Louisiana State registered the second two-touchdown game of his career, scoring New England's first two in a 40-7 trouncing of the Houston Texans yesterday at Gillette Stadium. But he wasn't around to talk about it afterward.

Favoring his right leg, which had a black protective wrap on it, Faulk gimped past reporters twice in the locker room before poli...