Tom Brady
Texans defensive end Antonio Smith said that Tom Brady's dominant second-half performance on Sunday could only be explained by excellent scouting or spying. Wikipedia Commons

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady responded on Sunday to rumors that the team’s comeback on Sunday was made possible due to information it gleaned from “spying” on the Houston Texans.

Down 17-7 at halftime, the Patriots scored 27 second-half points and stormed back to defeat the Texans, 34-31. Houston’s defense had no answer for Brady, who threw for 371 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Brady’s late-game performance was so impressive that it led Texans defensive end Antonio Smith to suggest that the Patriots may have spied on their opponent.

“Either teams are spying on us or scouting us ... I don’t know what it is,” Smith told reporters after the game. “We had some ways that we were going to play this week that just got put in this week, and it was just miraculous that they changed up some things that they did on offense and keyed on what we put in this week to stop what they were doing.”

“You would have to be a descendant of [Nostradamus] to know what we put in this week to be able to change that fast,” Smith added. “It is a specific thing that was important to what we were going to do today, to how we would call the defense.”

After the game, Belichick refused to directly respond to Smith’s allegations. “Yeah, I saw them,” he told reporters, according to ESPN Boston’s Field Yates. “I don’t have any comment on them. That’s a league matter.”

In a Monday morning radio appearance on WEEI, Brady dismissed Smith’s claims. “Truthfully, we just played a little bit better in the second half,” Brady said. “We’ve kind of been through a lot of this before, so I don’t really think much of it, truthfully. I just kind of have moved on. I’ve already started work on the Browns and trying to figure out a way to play those guys better and get off to a better start.”

This isn’t the first time that the Patriots have been accused of spying on an opponent. In 2007, former New York Jets head coach and Belichick assistant Eric Mangini told league officials that the Patriots had videotaped Jets coaches’ defensive signals from the sideline during a game. Belichick was fined $500,000 in connection with the incident, the largest penalty ever levied against an NFL coach.

[h/t For The Win]