FOXBORO -- When the Houston Texans lost to the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in December, they left New England saying that they found out what "championship football" was.
Just over a month later, they found out once again.
"It's very frustrating," said Texans defensive end J.J. Watt after their 41-28 playoff loss to the Patriots on Sunday. "Because, I mean, we've been here before. You don't want to get back to where you were before. You want to move on, you want to get better, and you want to move forward. And we didn't do that."
The Texans find themselves still searching for the answer to playing championship football. Because their season is now over. And as usual, it seems, the Patriots are the ones moving on. This time, to the AFC Championship.
As they enter the offseason looking for those answers, they already seem to have found one. If they want to play championship football, they know they'll have to eventually knock off Tom Brady and the Patriots.
"I think every team in the National Football League knows how good this opponent is and what they've done over a period of time," said Texans coach Gary Kubiak after the season-ending loss. "If you want to achieve greatness, you're probably going to have to go through them at some point. That's part of this league. This organization will keep battling to do that."
And as long as they're battling, they'll need to stop Brady.
"He's a very good football player," said Watt. "He's a heck of a quarterback, obviously. He's one of the best for a reason. And we needed to hit him, we needed to knock some balls down, and we didn't do that. We lost, we lost."