Final Score: New England Patriots 34 Houston Texans 16
Look, a win is a win is a win. Right? Let’s get the piping hot takes out of the way quickly.
Thank the sweet lord that game was against the Texans and Brock Osweiler. He is just a plain old bad quarterback, there isn’t much else to say about it either. The Texans season was vanilla at best. A 9-7 regular season followed by a 27-14 win in a Wild Card game against a Derek Carr-less Oakland Raiders squad. There was absolutely nothing about last Saturday’s (1/7) playoff win by the Texans that would’ve led anyone to think they had the steam to come into Foxborough and defeat the top dog in the AFC.
Right they were.
What an unsettling performance in a playoff game by the Patriots. Costly errors that would’ve actually been costly had we not been going up against some man the size of a long NBA small forward that looks like he snuck out of a Houston rec league basketball tournament.
This ends the bashing Brock Osweiler portion of the article.
The game began slow out of the gate with teams going three and out on their first possessions. Then midway through the first quarter, the Dion Lewis show began. First catching a 13 yard touchdown from Tom Brady which capped a 2 play 65-yard drive by the Patriots that took only 43-seconds off the clock. The Texans answered with a field goal on their next drive, only to have a 98-yard return touchdown for Lewis on the ensuing kickoff.
The momentum in the game shifted towards Houston’s side as the second quarter began. Scoring the next 10 points in the game with another Nick Novak field goal and an Osweiler touchdown to C.J. Fiedorowicz. New England answered late when a promising drive stalled out at the two yard line and the Patriots settled for a Stephen Gostkowski field goal.
Defense was the story in the second half. The Texans pass rush started getting to Tom Brady and that got the Patriots offense off-kilter quite a bit. With little time in the pocket, Brady led a drive downfield 90-yards for a Patriots score on a 19-yard pass to James White. Notable: Texans DB A.J. Bouye is an emerging star at the cornerback position. Played one of the best games at CB I’ve ever seen against a QB that plays at the caliber Brady does.
Osweiler failed to get the Texans on the board in the third quarter, and struggled to do much of anything with the ball on offense. Texans RB Lamar Miller was getting his fair share of looks but only seemed to make noise with the ball when he was getting it outside of the tackles. However, the Houston wide receiver core let Osweiler down in turn on multiple occasions with costly drops on 3rd down and perhaps the toughest drop of the night coming from rookie WR Wil Fuller V who had a ball slip through his arms in the end zone when Osweiler seemed to put it in the ideal spot for the receiver.
The fourth quarter began 24-16 in favor of New England but an interception from Brock Osweiler set the Patriots up to capitalize with Dion Lewis 3rd score of the night. A one yard rushing touchdown.
Box Score Breakdown
In this game Dion Lewis became the first player in NFL Postseason history to score a touchdown on via a reception, a rush, and a kickoff return. Lewis finished with 188 all-purpose yards but put the ball on the ground twice with fumbles at inopportune times.
Brady finished the game with a pedestrian 287 yards through the air. Completing 18 of his 38 attempts, his two passing touchdowns were accompanied by two interceptions. Brady only through two interceptions the entire season (12 games).
Julian Edelman led the way for the Patriots receiving core with 8 receptions for 137 yards. In addition, Chris Hogan had 95 yards on 4 catches.
Osweiler went 23 for 40 through the air and had only 1 passing touchdown which took a back seat to his 3 interceptions on the night.
Miller had a decent showing on the ground with 73 yards on 19 carriers. DeAndre Hopkins led the way for the Texans receiver core with 6 catches for 65 yards, while tight end Fiedorowicz had the only reception in the end zone on the night for the team; his line- 3 catches 36 yards and a TD.
This game was a lot closer than the final score appeared. The Houston defense was keeping Brady in check for the bulk of the game. The addition of J.J. Watt could’ve had a profound effect on the outcome. As much as the Patriots struggled to keep the mistakes to a minimum it isn’t often that a Belichick team has bad games in back to back weeks. Look for the Patriots to rest up and get back on track next week as they face their toughest opponent of the year at home in Foxborough in the AFC Championship Game.