Every game this season that seemed like it should have been a cake walk for the Patriots have been nail biters. Sunday was no exception as the Patriots squeaked out a 34-31 win over the lowly 2-10 Houston Texans.
Last season, the Patriots not only embarrassed the Texans on a Monday Night matchup, but also embarrassed them in the playoffs to end the season. That Texans team was a lot different from this year’s Texans team. Last year, the Texans were supposed to be good, and were good, except for when they played the Patriots. This year they’ve been horrible, but were almost able to beat the Patriots.
Houston jumped out to a 10-lead in the first quarter. With the score 7-0, Tom Brady threw a pass intended for Rob Gronkowski, but was intercepted by Jonathan Joseph at the New England 31. The Patriots defense was able to hold the Casey Keenum led offense to just a field goal on that drive.
On the ensuing Patriots drive, Tom Brady found Gronkowski in the end zone for a 23 yard field goal, that cut the deficit to 3. With the score the same in the 2nd quarter, Patriots Kicker, Stephen Gostkowski misses a 55 yard field goal, which gave Houston great field position to start their next drive at. That drive ended with a Ben Tate touchdown, and the Texans went to halftime with a 10 point lead.
The Patriots are strangers to trailing at halftime, as they were down by 24 points last week, before rallying and defeated Peyton Manning and the Broncos. In the 2nd half, the Patriots came out just as they had a week before. They drove down the field in just 2 minutes and 19 seconds, and James Devlin, who had his 1st career carry in the 1st quarter, recorded his 1st career touchdown to cut the Texans lead to 17-14.
After the defense forced the Texans to a 3 and out, the offense came through again, as Brady once again quickly got down field, and hooked up with Shane Vereen for a touchdown that put the Pats up by 4. That lead however would not be enough.
After a 6 minute drive, Keenum scored a touchdown a quarterback keep play from 5 yards out, which once again put the Texans on top by 3 points. But this game was being played against the Patriots, and there is no keeping the Patriots down. The Pats once again answered and took the lead on a Lagarrette Blount touchdown run. Blount had the majority of the carries on the day as usual starter, Stevan Ridley was inactive, due to his high amount of turnovers this season. Ridley watched the Patriots from the bench while holding a football all game long.
Blount had 12 carries for 44 yards and 1 touchdown, as Shane Vereen had 10 carries and 38 yards with on receiving touchdown.
Keenum and the Texans took the lead back in just over a minute. They got 80 yards on 3 plays to take the lead 31-28. The biggest play on the drive was a 65 yard pass to DeAndre Hopkins, that beat Devin McCourty.
The Patriots tied the game on 53 yard field goal by Gostkowski, and then were able to stop the Texans, and Gostkowski made another 53 yard field goal that gave the Patriots the lead for good.
The Texans failed to convert on a 4th and 13, with 2 minutes left, and had just one timeout left. Despite only 1 timeout, they were still able to stop the Patriots and forced them to punt. Keenum had two chances to pull off a miracle, but he was unsuccessful, and the Patriots left Houston with a 9-3 record.
Tom Brady threw for 371 yards and 2 touchdowns as well as the one interception he threw in the 1st quarter. Julian Edelman had a huge game, and looked like (I hate to say his name) Wes Welker. Edelman was stepping up all game and making difficult catches look easy, as he had 9 receptions for 101 yards, and Gronk had 127 yards on 10 catches.
The Patriots will now play the Cleveland Browns next Sunday, and despite the 3-8 record for Cleveland, the game won’t be easy for New England.