The Patriots, down 17-7 at the break, put up 27 points on Houston in the second half. That's been New England's M.O. recently, but Texans DE Antonio Smith thinks the turnaround was more than a little suspicious.
Smith, seen above flailing helplessly, accused the Patriots of knowing what was coming, even some new wrinkles the Texans defense was running for the first time this season. Rather than call it half-time adjustments, Smith seemed to allege that more nefarious means were involved. Since these are the Patriots, and have been accused of this sort of thing before, Smith knew exactly what he was implying.
"I'm very suspicious. 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. I can't tell you an example because it's G15 classified. It's a defensive thing that we might continue to use.
"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. It just seems miraculous to me how they changed some things on offense that keyed on what we put in 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 put so much into their craft. But you have to be a descendant of 'Tonestradamus' to know what we put in this week and to be able to then go 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."
"Tonestradamus" is a soothsayer that Smith plays on occasion. He takes the role seriously:
Even if Smith's allegations are groundless, and they are (why would the Patriots' espionage-aided gameplan only work in the second half?), just learning that Tonestradamus exists, and is more than a little offensive, makes this whole story worth it.
For his part, Tom Brady dismissed claims of subterfuge, and even the notions that the Texans' "G15 classified" schemes were anything special.
"They definitely did some different things than we were expecting, but nothing that really blew our mind," he said.
Sick burn. Presumably Tonestradamus had the foresight to buy some salve ahead of time. Anyway, this is just the sort of frustration-fueled excuse that tends to run side-by-side in the local paper with stories headlined "Texans officially worst team in NFL."