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Texans embrace the role of underdog that they earned with their subpar play

Wild Card Playoffs - Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans Getty Images

The Texans enter the divisional round of the playoffs as decided underdogs to the Patriots.  And the Texans embrace that role.

Which is a good thing, because they’ve earned that role.

“Yeah, I love being the underdog. It’s my claim to fame,” defensive end Antonio Smith said, via Dave Zangaro if CSNHouston.com.  “I don’t know.  I’ve just been an underdog all my life.  I grew to love it, feels good.”

It feels good because it helps provide extra motivation.

“That’s the secret weapon of the underdog,” Smith said.  “Yeah, it bothers us and you just sit there and you take it and you let it harbor and you let it fester and grow into what you need it to grow into.”

Teammate J.J. Watt agrees.

“Love it,” Watt said of the team’s status.  “I love doing things people tell me I can’t.  That’s a great feeling.  Right now, there are a whole lot of people telling us what we can’t do.  I see a lot of guys in this locker room working hard to prove what we can do.”

But the only reason people are telling the Texans they can’t win is because the Texans haven’t been playing well.  At all.

It started a month ago, when the 11-1 Texans rolled into New England for a game that veteran receiver Andre Johnson bizarrely dubbed the biggest in the history of the franchise.  The Texans lost in ugly fashion as part of a 1-3 finish to the season that included back-to-back losses when only one win would have delivered the top seed in the AFC field.

Thus, the Texans shouldn’t be facing long odds on the road against the Patriots this weekend.  The Texans should be hosting the Ravens and favored to win.  And then the Texans should be hosting the winner of the Broncos-Patriots divisional-round game, and likely once again favored to win.

The Texans are instead underdogs because they stunk it up down the stretch.  If they choose to delude themselves into thinking it’s an unfair label that came from anything other than their own inability to take care of business, that’s their business.

But the reality is that the Texans are solely responsible for the fact that no one believes in them.  Which makes this whole “us-against-the-world” routine come off as more than a bit contrived and, in turn, sort of lame.

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43 Responses to “Texans embrace the role of underdog that they earned with their subpar play”
  1. cylondetector says: Jan 12, 2013 12:21 AM

    The Texans stumble came before the Patriots game – close wins against perrenial strugglers the Jags and Lions!!

  2. patriotsdefense says: Jan 12, 2013 12:27 AM

    Completely agree. It would be one thing if a Patriots player or coach come out swinging, but that fact it was a big time local writer kinda of showed how eager the Texans were for looking at something to point at for motivation.

  3. BigBeachBall says: Jan 12, 2013 12:33 AM

    Texans stink

  4. reed20fence says: Jan 12, 2013 12:42 AM

    This Ravens fan is rooting for the Texans. We know what it’s like to be disrespected and counted out.

    You go parade those bulls in Brady’s yard fellas!

  5. joeychar99 says: Jan 12, 2013 12:59 AM

    im about sick and tired of all the negativity on the Texans! heres hoping for a huge upset Sunday and Dan shaughnessy from the boston globe and the writer of this crap can both eat their words!

  6. dino2997 says: Jan 12, 2013 1:15 AM

    This game all comes down to Matt Schaub. Who in their right mind thinks he will outplay Tom Brady?!?

  7. ramjam28 says: Jan 12, 2013 1:23 AM

    Pats by 20 atleast. New England showed the Texans what an elite team is all about. It might be a worse blowout this time around.

  8. onepointtwentyonegigawatt says: Jan 12, 2013 1:53 AM

    If they had gone 1-3 at the beginning of the season instead of the end, you wouldn’t be writing this nonsense. So since their bad stretch happened at the end of the season, their underdog mentality is “contrived?” Because they didn’t finish strong like the unstoppable Bengals, whom they just dismantled? Clearly it doesn’t matter as long as you show up to play when it counts.

  9. yaryers says: Jan 12, 2013 2:24 AM

    Wow. I’m not even a Texans fan, but you’ve unnecessarily been piling it on the Texans for a while now.

  10. asublimeday says: Jan 12, 2013 2:41 AM

    Excellent article.

  11. txhockeydad says: Jan 12, 2013 3:00 AM

    Sounds like a bitter axe to grind.

  12. patsfan13 says: Jan 12, 2013 4:15 AM

    They can use being called under dogs, or quote Boston columnists articles for motivation. They came to Foxborough over confident last time, so now this is the other side of the coin. There is
    no secret to this game, stop Forster, and you stop the Texans. Get ahead of them, and Schaub is never going to bring them back.

  13. enochmh2 says: Jan 12, 2013 4:35 AM

    Best pft article I’ve seen in some time.

  14. 49ers4ever says: Jan 12, 2013 5:27 AM

    Does anyone really believe the Texans have a chance?

  15. mempusa says: Jan 12, 2013 6:17 AM

    Of course they love being an underdog. That’s what every team that is overrated because of a win streak says after they get slaughtered.

  16. milton11 says: Jan 12, 2013 6:34 AM

    Excuse me, but exactly where is it that they claim being the underdog is “an unfair label”? You don’t have to feel the label is unfair in order to be motivated by it.

  17. thebigtim2012 says: Jan 12, 2013 7:34 AM

    Hey texans don’t forget your jv jackets when you leave foxboro. We had em dry cleaned for you and they are all ready to go

  18. rhamrhoddy says: Jan 12, 2013 8:00 AM

    Lamer than letterman’s jackets

  19. Josh says: Jan 12, 2013 8:16 AM

    I don’t say this often, but well said Florio. There is no doubt this team has talented players. But they have collapsed down the stretch and struggled to beat a “good” Bengals team at home in the first round. This is not an impressive squad right now.

  20. kayakattack says: Jan 12, 2013 8:41 AM

    Texas pulling the no respect card.. classy houston.. and thats a good indicator of why you dont win big games.

  21. doublezero74 says: Jan 12, 2013 8:41 AM

    Agreed.

  22. apwarrior250 says: Jan 12, 2013 8:50 AM

    Totally agree with You.

  23. anarchopurplism says: Jan 12, 2013 8:52 AM

    Are “Underdogs” the name of their mascot on their letter jackets?

  24. inyourfaceholes says: Jan 12, 2013 9:12 AM

    The Texans already played in and lost their Super Bowl.
    The Patriots will destroy them again tomorrow.

  25. dodirty12 says: Jan 12, 2013 9:14 AM

    The Pats 31 Texans 10.

  26. bunkerhillbob says: Jan 12, 2013 9:18 AM

    Underdog or not, Houston will still need to score about 24 points to have a chance.

  27. texanfan62 says: Jan 12, 2013 9:38 AM

    Hate to agree with you Florio, but your right. The Texans made their “stink it up” bed, now they have to sleep in it. And because of the Colts’ rise, they might not get another chance to ever be in the playoffs. I don’t have much hope, because of Kubiak and Rick Smith, for the Texans to ever be a Dominant Team; they have the wrong philosophy for building a Team.

  28. petecarrolmorelikecheatpayroll says: Jan 12, 2013 9:50 AM

    With all the above being said, the Pats will shred them for 400+ yards in the air and beat them by double digits.

    Disclaimer: Not a Patriots fan.

  29. dezertdweller says: Jan 12, 2013 9:53 AM

    “Run!!! Foster (Forrest) Run!!”

  30. southpaw447 says: Jan 12, 2013 9:59 AM

    They can play the underdog role all they want. Brady is still going to roll over them

  31. yourmindismytoilet says: Jan 12, 2013 10:01 AM

    12-4 “underdog”. Right.

  32. raymondtx says: Jan 12, 2013 10:26 AM

    I am a Texans fan, and if they lose this game and end the season the way they have…then they never were who I thought they were. At some point, they will have to win a game that matters or they will continue to be looked at as pretenders (ie Oilers 2.0).

  33. lowlifenebula says: Jan 12, 2013 10:53 AM

    No one has any miniscule amount of faith in the Texans to win and with good reason. Still, ignoring their stupid underdog embracing ways, I’d like to see them win and awe the football world….

  34. htown1035 says: Jan 12, 2013 10:59 AM

    Well, the entire media and NFL fanbase thinks they’re going to get beaten and badly in this game, so yeah that makes them the underdog. Sorry if you guys can’t comprehend that.

  35. htown1035 says: Jan 12, 2013 11:01 AM

    cylondetector says:Jan 12, 2013 12:21 AM

    The Texans stumble came before the Patriots game – close wins against perrenial strugglers the Jags and Lions!!
    ———————————-

    And the Pats lost to the Niners and stumbled in a close win over the Jags too!!

  36. flash1283 says: Jan 12, 2013 11:16 AM

    onepointtwentyonegigawatt says:
    Jan 12, 2013 1:53 AM
    If they had gone 1-3 at the beginning of the season instead of the end, you wouldn’t be writing this nonsense. So since their bad stretch happened at the end of the season, their underdog mentality is “contrived?” Because they didn’t finish strong like the unstoppable Bengals, whom they just dismantled? Clearly it doesn’t matter as long as you show up to play when it counts.—

    No, the reason it’s being said is even after they lost to NE they still had a chance to lock the #1 spot. A win at home vs MN would have done it, they failed. Then they had a chance to at least get the 2 spot with a win vs a colts team that had nothing to play for (they had the 5 spot regardless ), they failed again.

  37. htown1035 says: Jan 12, 2013 12:00 PM

    flash1283 says:Jan 12, 2013 11:16 AM

    No, the reason it’s being said is even after they lost to NE they still had a chance to lock the #1 spot. A win at home vs MN would have done it, they failed. Then they had a chance to at least get the 2 spot with a win vs a colts team that had nothing to play for (they had the 5 spot regardless ), they failed again.

    ———

    Yeah, they played poorly the last month of the season. Then they turned it around and dominated the Bengals in every category except the final score.

    If the Pats and their fans think they’re going against a pushover they’ve got another thing coming.

  38. growuppeterpan says: Jan 12, 2013 1:18 PM

    win or lose, the economy in Houston is fantastic and everyone has jobs. Last I checked half of new england towns are insolvent.

  39. edgerules says: Jan 12, 2013 2:32 PM

    To the person who said they “dismantled the Bengals.” The Texans dismantled the Bengals how, exactly? They dismantled the Bengals with FGs, and a TD by Arian Foster? WOW.

    They are going to have to a bit better than that Sunday, IMO.

    Their “underdog role” is a bit contrived. Like Florio said, almost all season, THEY were in the driver’s seat for the #1 seed. No one told them to virtually collapse down the stretch.

  40. htown1035 says: Jan 12, 2013 3:03 PM

    edgerules says:Jan 12, 2013 2:32 PM

    To the person who said they “dismantled the Bengals.” The Texans dismantled the Bengals how, exactly? They dismantled the Bengals with FGs, and a TD by Arian Foster? WOW.

    They are going to have to a bit better than that Sunday, IMO.

    Their “underdog role” is a bit contrived. Like Florio said, almost all season, THEY were in the driver’s seat for the #1 seed. No one told them to virtually collapse down the stretch.

    —————————————-

    Sure, since you’re not smart enough to look it up, I’ll explain it to you:

    The Bengals were winners of 7 of 8, and despite your opinion of them, they were considered one of the hottest teams in the league and were picked by almost 70% of media and experts to beat the Texans, who had played poorly for a month. Their defense was one of the best in the league, leading the league in sacks, and their offense averaged 24ppg and had a ton of confidence. This playoff game was going to validate them as a true contender.

    The result?

    The Texans had 420 yards of offense to their 198.

    The Texans had 38 minutes TOP to their 21,

    The Texans held them to NO 3rd down conversions.

    The Texans held Dalton to under 120 yards passing.

    The Texans ran for 158 yards, 140 by Foster. They held them to 80 yards rushing.

    The team that had the most sacks in the league didn’t have one.

    So yeah, other than the final score, it was domination across the board.

  41. wolfpack152 says: Jan 12, 2013 4:12 PM

    Mike you know your just bitter cause you picked them to miss the playoffs. Did a Houstonian sleep with you wife or something?

  42. tedmurph says: Jan 12, 2013 10:07 PM

    Yeah, they played poorly the last month of the season. Then they turned it around and dominated the Bengals in every category except the final score.

    If the Pats and their fans think they’re going against a pushover they’ve got another thing coming.

    ———————————————————-

    The Texans dominated the Bengals. Dalton missed some wide open throws but most of the game it looked like Cincy was no threat to score. Don’t forget, they scored a defensive TD too. The SB contenders make the playoffs, pretenders(Minny,Indy, Cincy) round out the field. Beating Cincy didn’t show me much. As far as the pushover thing goes, I never make predictions. If I knew what was gonna happen, I’d fly to Vegas. But if someone forced me to predict on this pushover thing, with home field in the AFC Championship on the table, well…

  43. pef12 says: Jan 13, 2013 11:55 AM

    The Achilles heal for the Texans is defending the Spread Offense. Until they show me they can shut that down then there is really no argument here.

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