The Patriots insist that their rout of the Texans was not a "statement" game to show they could excel against the team with the NFL's best record.
They made one — loud and clear — nevertheless.
They let the dwindling group of doubters know that they can dominate even their best opponents and are still improving as they head toward the playoffs.
Brady threw for four touchdowns in New England's 42-14 win over Houston on Monday night then said that this is the perfect time for the Patriots (10-3) to keep improving. They took command quickly, scoring on passes on their first three possessions. Whether or not they wanted to deliver a message that the hype about Houston (11-2) was overblown, it couldn't be missed.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL