John McClain didn’t think the Texans would beat the Patriots in New England, but he did think it would at least be close.
“I (thought) the Texans would lose 16-13,” the Houston Chronicle NFL writer said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I thought it would be low-scoring because of a third-string rookie quarterback making his first start. I thought it would be a field-goal game won by the Patriots. I had no idea the Texans would get blown out by 27 points.”
The Texans committed three turnovers in the 27-0 loss, including two special-teams fumbles that led to 14 New England points. Jacoby Brissett threw for 103 yards, ran for 48 and a touchdown, didn’t turn the ball over and was sacked just once.
The Texans were seeking to announce their Super Bowl candidacy with authority. Instead, they went up in flames.
“They proved again that that spotlight is too big for them, and they weren’t ready to play,” McClain said. “Bill Belichick showed again why he is a first-blot Hall of Fame coach whenever he retires. Another magnificent coaching job. The one at Arizona to start the season was as good as I’ve ever seen. And this one, winning at Gillette Stadium, they’re 27-2 going in (over) their last 29, and that was with Brady. I think Belichick is like 14-5 without Brady, so they did a great game plan. They dominated the Texans in every phase.”
Indeed, the Patriots (3-0) look like clear favorites in the AFC, but it’s still early. The Broncos (2-0) and Steelers (2-0), who both play on the road this weekend, will need to win to keep pace.
“If the Bengals want to be taken seriously, they need to win that game (against Denver),” McClain said. “If the Broncos, with Trevor Siemian, who is a first-time starter, wins in Cincinnati, they’re going to be right up there with New England and Pittsburgh as a legitimate Super Bowl contender again despite their issues at quarterback.”
That’s assuming, of course, that the Steelers beat the Eagles (2-0).
“If Philadelphia and Carson Wentz beat Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers in Philadelphia, people are going to have to start taking the Eagles for real,” McClain said. “I still can’t buy it because they haven’t beaten anybody. I picked Pittsburgh to win the Super Bowl before the season, so if they lose in Philadelphia, what an incredible story that’s going to be for Carson Wentz and the Eagles. If they win this game, they might not be able to control the fans and the media in Philadelphia.”