FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Veteran New England Patriots safety Adrian Phillips shook his head in frustration after Sunday's disappointing 27-20 loss to dynamic Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans. That's because he knows what's ahead will look similar.
And if the Patriots' highly touted secondary doesn't play better -- and the entire defense, for that matter -- there's big trouble ahead against quarterback Kyler Murray and the visiting Arizona Cardinals on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, Fox).
"We just let Watson control the game and we can't do that," Phillips said. "The main thing was we knew we had to contain him. He's one of those magical players, and if you let him out of the pocket, it's going to be a long day. ...
"We have a good opponent coming up this week, and it's going to be pretty much the same thing. They're going to look at this film and see what they can do, and it's going to be up to us to fix the mistakes."
As dangerous as Watson can be, it's possible the speedy Murray is even more so.
They both fall into the category of quarterbacks that thrive the longer the play goes, and Phillips said the Patriots' defense knew what it had to Sunday in Houston -- which will apply against Murray, too.
"He's going to get out of the pocket eventually. He's one of those players that the play breaking down, or the play extending, is a good play for him," Phillips said of Watson. "For some quarterbacks when the play extends, they make questionable decisions."
What made Sunday so frustrating for Patriots defenders is they often talk about making the opposition one-dimensional. They achieved that goal against the Texans, who had 55 rushing yards on 19 carries. Yet the secondary, which is supposed to be the strength of the unit, couldn't hold up in the passing game.
Would putting more pressure on Watson have helped? Perhaps, as the Texans handled the three- and four-man rush with relative ease, recording a season-best pass-block win rate of 82%, according to ESPN's pass-blocking metrics powered by NFL Next Gen Stats data.
But coach Bill Belichick didn't want to seem to take that risk.
"Those are the choices you've got to make," he said. "They have done pretty well against pressure. It wasn't very good for us last year [against him]."
The Patriots will be in the same conundrum against Murray and the Cardinals (6-4).
"Going against a mobile quarterback like that, it's going to take 11 guys. You're going to have to count on your rush, and the cover guys are going to have to cover 2-3 seconds longer than they're used to," Phillips said.
"We knew everything we had to do and we just didn't get it done and that's the most frustrating part. Even though they're a good team, that was a winnable game, and we didn't do enough to win it."
The Patriots did enough last week against elusive Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens, and now look ahead to the Cardinals, knowing a similar performance like they had against the Texans won't be enough.
"Watson's dynamic. It's not like he's a statue back there. He was able to buy some time and it's tough for everyone out there," safety and longtime captain Devin McCourty said.
"He did a good job, of even when it felt like we had him, of escaping. In coverage when he's escaping, you're trying to cover your guy, and sometimes we're in zone, so it's coverage mixed with trying to go get him. He put a lot of pressure on us overall, with our pass rush and coverage, with some good throws and his ability to run."
Murray, of course, falls into a similar category.
"We have to do a better job, it's going to be no different next week when we play Arizona with Murray; he'll be doing the same things, buying extra time -- and has the ability to get the ball down the field or run it and make yards with his legs," McCourty said. "It won't get any easier."