Ryan L. Fox
With November turning into December, the New England Patriots continue on with their midseason gauntlet of tough opponents. After outlasting the Dallas Cowboys in a rainy, wet 13-9 victory at home, the Patriots head down south to Houston, Texas to NRG Stadium to face against the Houston Texans in a Sunday night match up.
During the past few years, the Patriots seemingly have had the number on the Texans and their head coach Bill O’Brien. Each time the two teams faced, the Texans were either outclassed or found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. But this time around, it wasn’t the same ol’ song and dance many Pats fans and media were used to. Rather, the Patriots took a giant punch in the mouth in the early goings and could not recover.
The Patriots won the toss and elected to defer to the 2nd half, giving the Cowboys the ball to start the ball with.
Patriots P Jake Bailey booted the opening kickoff into the back of the endzone, giving the Texans the ball at their own 25. But on their first possession of the game, they were stifled by the Patriots defense and were forced to punt the ball away.
The Patriots got the ball at their own 26 for their first possession of the game. The offense got going with two hard runs by RB Sony Michel up to the New England 30, followed by an 11-yard pass from QB Tom Brady to WR Julian Edelman down to the New England 41. After two more run plays and another Brady-Edelman pass, the Patriots were faced with 1st and 10 on the Houston 42.
On 1st and 10 from the 42, the Patriots tried an end around with Edelman only for it to get blown up for a 7-yard loss. Unfortunately for the Texans, LB Barkevious Mingo hit Edelman after the play was over to draw an unnecessary roughness penalty. So instead of 2nd and 17 on the Houston 49, the Patriots had 1st and 10 at the Houston 34.
The Patriots continued to rely on the running game, getting all the way down to the Houston 5. But the Texans defense was able to hold up, forcing the Patriots to settle for a field goal. Newly acquired K Kai Forbath came on to attempt a 23-yard field goal. The snap was good as Forbath booted the ball through the uprights, giving the Patriots the early 3-0 lead with 7:04 left in the 1st quarter.
After forcing the Texans to punt, the Patriots got the ball back on their own 19. After an incompletion on 1st down and a 6-yard pass from Brady to WR Mohammed Sanu, the Patriots were set up with 3rd and 4 on the New England 25. Brady dropped back to pass as he looked to WR N’Keal Harry for the 1st down. Instead, Brady found Texans CB Bradley Roby for the interception. Roby brought the ball all the way back to the New England 6. But afterwards, Roby committed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (taking his helmet off while on the field) to push the ball back to the New England 21.
The Texans opened up the drive with a 2-yard run by RB Carlos Hyde down to the New England 19. Hyde then was on the receiving end of a 5-yard pass by QB Deshaun Watson down to the New England 14. Facing a 3rd and short, Watson dropped back to pass. He then dumped a quick pass to RB Duke Johnson, who outran Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy into the endzone for the touchdown. K Ka’imi Fairbairn booted the PAT through the uprights to give the Texans a 7-3 lead with 38 seconds left in the quarter.
After the ensuing kickoff, the Patriots got the ball at their own 25. After a 3-yard run by Michel to the New England 28 and then an incompletion on the following play, the 1st quarter came to an end.
When the 2nd quarter opened up, the Patriots were faced with a 3rd and 7. Brady ended up scrambling for 13 yards and for the 1st down at the New England 41. However, the drive got as far as the New England 45 before stalling out before the Patriots were forced to punt. Texans PR/WR DeAndre Parker was able to return the punt to the Houston 26. However, there was an illegal blindside block called on the Texans during the punt return as it backed the Texans back to their own 12.
After Hyde was stopped on 1st and 10, Watson found TE Darren Fells over the left side for a 10-yard pass to the Houston 22. After that, the Texans pounded the Patriots on the ground, gaining 15 yards on 4 carries, getting up to the Houston 37. On 2nd and 8 from the 37, Watson found Johnson for an 8-yard gain and the 1st down at the Houston 45. Two plays later, Watson found TE Jordan Akins for a 19-yard catch and run down to the New England 36.
Two plays later, Watson found WR DeAndre Hopkins for a 13-yard pass down to the New England 22 and then found Johnson down to the New England 13 for 9-yards. Then on 2nd and 1 from the 13, Watson dumped the ball off to Fells, who rumbled over the left side for a 13-yard touchdown. Fairbairn booted the PAT through the uprights as the Texans lead extended to 14-3 with 6:21 left in the 2nd quarter.
After that, the two teams continued to trade punts with one another for the remainder of the half. After the 2nd quarter ended, both teams went into their respective locker rooms to relax, refresh, and regroup for the 2nd half.
When the 2nd half opened up as both teams traded punts with one another.
After fielding the Texans punt at their own 7, the Patriots offense went out onto the field for their second possession of the 3rd quarter.
After opening up with a 5-yard run by Michel, the Patriots were faced with 2nd and 5 at their own 12. Brady’s missed Edelman over the left side, bringing up a 3rd and 5. But on that play, C Ted Karras got rolled up on his right knee and had to leave the game. He was then ruled out for the remainder of the game as the Patriots had to turn to 3rd-string C James Ferentz.
Following the change in centers, Brady found Sanu for a quick 5-yard pass over the right side for a 1st down at the New England 12. Then on the ensuing play, RB James White took the Brady handoff around the right side and proceed to take chug it 32-yards to the New England 49. Two plays later, White took a shotgun draw up the middle for 6-yards and then Brady followed that up with a quick 3-yard pass to Sanu to the Houston 42. Facing a 4th and inches, Patriots coach Bill Belichick decided to go for the first down instead of punting. Brady found Sanu over the middle for what would have been a first down. Instead, Sanu dropped the pass as the ball was turned over on downs to the Houston Texans.
The Texans opened the drive up with a quick 3-yard run by Johnson to the Houston 45 but followed that up with an incomplete pass. Facing a 3rd and 7, Watson found WR Kenny Stills deep over the middle for a 20-yard pass to the New England 35. After an incompletion, and a declined penalty on the Texans by the Patriots, on first down, they were faced with a 2nd and 10 from the New England 35. Watson then found Will Fuller V for what appeared to be a 35-yard touchdown.
The play was then reviewed but on replay it showed that Fuller could not maintain the ball throughout the catch and was ruled incomplete. Not to be deterred, Watson again took another deep shot down the field on the following third down. This time he connected with Stills for a 35-yard touchdown bomb. Fairbairn booted the PAT through as the Texans extended their lead to 21-3 with 5:41 left in the 3rd quarter.
Seeing the game starting to slip away, the Patriots were in desperate need of a score.
After getting the ball back at their own 25 on the ensuing kickoff, the offense went back out onto the field. A 3-yard run by White followed by a 7-yard pass from Brady to Edelman gave the Patriots a 1st and 10 at their own 35. After White was stuffed for a 1-yard loss, Brady found WR Jakobi Meyers for a 17-yard pass to the Houston 49. Unfortunately for the Patriots, the play was called back due to a holding call on RT Marcus Cannon. After a 4-yard pass from Brady to White, the Patriots were faced with a 3rd and 17 from their own 32. Brady then found TE Ben Watson for a 23-yard catch-and-run down to the Houston 49 for a fresh set of downs. The Patriots were then hit with back-to-back penalties as they ended up facing a 1st and 30 from their own 31.
On 1st and 30, Brady dropped back to pass as he found Edelman wide open at the New England 48. Edelman hauled in the pass as he sprinted down the right sideline before getting tackled at the Houston 25, gaining 44-yards on the play and a first down. After that big play, Brady continue to drive the offense down the field as they got up to the Houston 12. On 3rd and 10 from the Houston 10, Brady found White wide open on the left side as the running back chugged into the endzone untouched for the touchdown. After taking a very questionable delay of game penalty on the PAT attempt, Forbath came onto the field to attempt the kick. The kick ended up going wide left as the Patriots made it 21-9 with 11 seconds left in the quarter.
The Texans got the ball back on their own 25 after the ensuing kickoff went into the back of the endzone. Johnson ended up getting stuffed for no gain on the last play of the 3rd quarter.
When the 4th quarter opened up, the Texans still had the ball. After getting a first down from a defensive holding call on Patriots CB Johnathan Jones, the Texans got another first down thanks to a 13-yard run by Johnson to the Houston 43. Johnson then carried the ball for another yard and then caught an 8-yard pass by Watson before getting pushed out of bounds at the New England 48. But on 3rd and short, LG Max Scharping drew a false start penalty that backed the Texans up 5 yards. On 3rd and 6, Watson found Hopkins for 10-yards to the New England 43, keeping the drive alive. The Texans offense continued to drive down the field getting as far as the New England 11.
After a defensive holding call on Patriots LB Elandon Roberts, Texans had the ball 1st and goal at the New England 6. Using a trick formation, Johnson took the shotgun snap before tossing it to Hopkins. Before he was up-ended, Hopkins pitched the ball to Watson, who dove at the pylon for the touchdown (it was later credited as a 6-yard touchdown pass from Hopkins to Watson). Fairbairn booted the PAT through the uprights as the Texans lead grew to 28-9 with 9:53 left in the game.
After the Texans’ ensuing kickoff, the Patriots got the ball back on their own 25. Brady again led the offense back out onto the field to try and get within striking distance. After a White 1-yard run and 12 catch-and-run by Edelman, the Patriots were faced with 1st and 10 at their own 38. Brady was then sacked for a loss of 9-yards and then followed that up with an 8-yard pass to White to the New England 37. Faced with a 3rd and 11, Brady’s pass to Meyers went incomplete as the drive was stopped in its tracks. Luckily for the Pats offense, CB Lonnie Johnson was called for defensive pass interference which gave the Patriots a first down at their own 49.
Using the new fresh set of downs, the Patriots offense continued to march down the field. They got up to the Houston 17 before being faced with a 4th and 6 from there. Needing to go for the touchdown instead of the field goal, Belichick opted to go for it. Brady then found WR Phillip Dorsett for what appeared to be the first down at the Houston 11. Texans coach Bill O’Brien tried to challenge the spot, believing that Dorsett was short of the first down. The refs reviewed the play and the call was upheld, costing the Texans a time out. Two plays later, Brady found White over the middle for an 11-yard touchdown pass. The Patriots decided to go for the 2-pt conversion but Brady’s pass to Dorsett fell incomplete as the score was 28-15 with 3:42 left in the game.
After forcing the Texans to punt again, the Patriots got the ball back on their own 6. White opened the drive up with a 15-yard run to the 21 and then a few plays later, Brady found Meyers for 21 yards to the New England 39. A couple plays later, Brady found White for a 36-yard catch-and-run down to the Houston 20. Then with less than a minute to play, Brady found Edelman deep over the left side for the touchdown. Forbath booted the PAT through the uprights as the score was now 28-22 with 50 second left in the game.
But the comeback ultimately fell short. Bailey’s onside kick ended up going out of bounds, giving the Texans the ball at their own 45. With no timeouts remaining, the Patriots could only watch as Watson simply kneeled the ball twice to close out the game.
When the final gun rang, the Texans ran onto the field to celebrate their 28-22 victory the defending champions. The loss proved to be a setback for the Patriots as earlier in the day, the Baltimore Ravens outlasted the San Francisco 49ers 20-17. The Patriots loss and the Ravens win put both teams at 10-2 but the Ravens became the No. 1 seed in the AFC due to their tie-breaking victory over the Pats just a few weeks ago.
Now at 2-2 in their midseason gauntlet, the Patriots have to trudge back to Foxborough and prepare themselves for an offensive shootout with the Kansas City Chiefs. A shootout that the Patriots offense might not be up to.
Patriot Statistical Standouts
QB Tom Brady: 24-for-47 (51.1% completion rate) for 326 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT for a QB Rating of 86.0, 1 carry for 13 yards (13.0 yards per carry)
RB James White: 14 carries for 79 yards (5.6 yards per carry), 8 catches (on 12 targets) for 98 yards and 2 TDs
WR Julian Edelman: 1 carry for -7 yards (-7.0 yards per carry), 6 catches (on 12 targets) for 106 yards and 1 TD
DE Lawrence Guy: 7 tackles (4 solo, 3 assist)
LB Dont’a Hightower: 6 tackles (3 solo, 3 assist), 1.0 sacks
Numbers! Numbers! Numbers!
17 – The number of seasons where Patriots QB Tom Brady has thrown for 3,000 or more yards in a single season (3,268 yards so far in 2019)
140.7 – The QB rating of Texans QB DeShaun Watson, the highest QB rating of any QB the Patriots have faced in 2019
4 – The number of passing touchdowns allowed by the Patriots defense for the entire game, the most in 2019
.143 – The winning percentage of Texans head coach Bill O’Brien against the Patriots in the regular season (1-6)
2 – The number of punts for Patriots P Jake Bailey had for the entire game
79 – The rushing yards for Patriots RB James White, both a game high and career high for him
Interesting Tidbits of the Game
- After tonight’s game, Brady has 3,268 passing yards this season. That gives him 17 seasons where he’s thrown 3,000 passing yards or more in a single season, which 2nd all-time in NFL history only behind Hall of Fame QB Brett Farve (18)
- The New England Patriots outgained the Houston Texans in total yards 448 to 276 and won the time of possession battle 34:35. The last time the Patriots lost on the road and had more total yards than their opponent was last year in Week 14 against the Miami Dolphins in Miami, Florida where the Patriots lost 34-33 but outgained the Dolphins 421 to 412 and won the time of possession battle 35:14 to 24:46
- After getting picked off in the 1st quarter and making the tackle, Brady became the oldest QB to record a tackle after tackles became an official stat back in 2000
- Prior to this game, the Patriots defense had only allowed 4 passing touchdowns in their first 11 games in 2019. Against the Texans, they allowed 4 passing touchdowns (3 by Watson and 1 by Hopkins)
- Prior to the game, the Houston Texans never won a home game against the New England Patriots (0-4 against New England). In fact, the last time the Texans beat the Patriots was back on Jan. 3, 2010 during Week 17 of the 2009 season at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA (Texans won 34-27 and that was the infamous game where Patriots WR Wes Welker torn his ACL)
- This was the second time this season that the Patriots defense has given up 20+ points to an opponent (0-2)
- This was also the 4th consecutive week where the Patriots failed to score 25+ points in a single game after doing so 7 out of the first 8 weeks of the 2019 season
- Tom Brady's 13-yard run in the beginning of the 2nd quarter was the longest run he has made during the 2019 season
Fox Fist Bump
The Fox Fist Bump goes to RB James White.
First off, it’s clear that White is not known for his skills as a rusher but as a pass catching back. But against the Texans, his number was called upon a lot to carry the load and he answered. White carried the ball 14 times for a game high 79 yards, which was also a career high for him as well.
Then in the passing game, White almost caught everything that was thrown his way (8 catches on 11 targets). Plus those 2 touchdown grabs were key into trying to get the Patriots back into the game.
Feels like the Patriots are going to have to rely on White more down the stretch than fellow teammate RB Sony Michel. But I’m pretty sure #28 is more than willing to answer the call.
The Meatball of the Week
The Meatball of the Week is none other than the entire Patriots defense.
Woof, where do I begin?
How about the fact you allowed 4 passing touchdown passes against you in a single game when you just allowed 4 total passing touchdowns in 11 games prior? Or maybe the fact that Texans QB Deshaun Watson finished the game with 3 TD passes and a QB rating of 140.7? Or how about not being able to get off the field on those long touchdown drives throughout the entire game? Or what about the fact you couldn’t force a single turnover for the entire game? I could go on and on if I wanted to, but I’ll just give myself a migraine.
The best summarization of the Pats defense for the game was on the Texans’ first touchdown. Texans RB Duke Johnson caught a swing pass in the flat and outran Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy, who was in the vicinity, and pretty much jogged into the endzone for the touchdown. Close but no cigar buddy boy.
Maybe instead of focusing on what media members are saying about you, focus on game film and figure out how to stop fast offenses. Just a thought.
Play of the Game
Some Texas Magic
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