After being accused of “spying” on the Texans, the Patriots responded with a nonchalant shrug.
Which, of course, is how a spy would react.
Actually, Smith’s contention that it was “kind of fishy,” that the Patriots would respond so rapidly in the second half against a 2-10 team (after doing the same thing to a slightly better Broncos team previously) might be the laughable part.
“You know, truthfully, we just played a little bit better in the second half,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said during his weekly appearanace on WEEI, via Field Yates of ESPN.com. “We’ve kind of been through a lot of this before. I don’t really think much of it, truthfully. I just kind of have moved on. I’ve already started work on the Cleveland Browns, trying to find a way to play those guys better and get off to a better start.”
After a slow first half, the Patriots came back to score on their first five possessions of the second half. But since they were playing a team that had lost nine straight, it wasn’t so much of a surprise. Brady said there’s a calm about his team in such situations.
“If you have like a bad first drive, you don’t really come over to the sideline and go, ‘All right guys, we’ve gotta change everything, let’s scrap all the crap we’ve been practicing all week and just start making stuff up on the fly,’” he said. “But I think by halftime you have really a good enough sample size to figure out how the game is being played, the things, the matchups that go in our favor, the matchups that don’t go in our favor. Maybe there’s some new things that they’ve done that we’ve got to adjust to, but ultimately, after halftime you get a chance to evaluate and say, ‘Well, how did that half play out?’
“You’ve got to be able to stick with it, stick with what we’re doing, kind of what we did against Denver,” he continued. “Or last week, we said, ‘OK, these are some of the things we’re going to get to and these are the matchups we like and we’ve got to start making the plays that we’re capable of making.’”
As you might expect, Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn’t add much to the conversation, acknowledging that he had noticed Smith’s remarks.
“Yeah, I saw them. I don’t have any comment on them. That’s a league matter,” Belichick said.
The fact the Patriots have scored seven points in their last two first halves is something they’ll want to address, but the fact they’ve scored 61 in their last two seconds probably has more to do with superior coaching and personnel than espionage.