The Patriots will make only their fourth visit to Reliant Stadium Sunday (12pm Sports Radio 610, TexansRadio.com). One of the trips was in Super Bowl 38 against Carolina. Earlier that year, in fact almost exactly ten years ago, New England beat Houston in an overtime marathon.
Only two players who were in that game are still with their teams; Tom Brady and Andre Johnson.
The Texans were led by Tony Banks (who currently does pre and postgame analysis on Texans TV on Fox Sports Southwest). He only threw for 93 yards but was able to hit Andre Johnson and Billy Miller for touchdowns as the Texans had a late lead.
Brady kept the Texans in the game by throwing two picks and fumbling. But he made the big play at the end of regulation, finding Daniel Graham on a fourth-and-1 at the Houston four-yard line for the game-tying touchdown.
The Texans actually survived an Adam Vinitieri miss in overtime and eventually got the ball to the Patriots 40-yard line. But Dom Capers elected to punt instead of trying a 58-yard field goal (Four years later, Kris Brown would win a game at the buzzer with a 57-yard kick. Six years later he would play his last game as a Texan, against New England).
The heavily favored Pats won the game and also the Super Bowl against the Panthers. The Texans were able to beat Carolina that year, with Banks at the helm, but finished 5-11 while leading the NFL with the most players on injured reserve.
Beating the Pats on Sunday is a tall order but if that 2003 Texans team could put up such a fight, maybe these Texans can keep it close and steal a win. It wouldn't cure all their maladies but it would surely take some of the hurt away.