The Patriots came away with another win today in Houston, improving their record to 9-3 on the year. While this marked the tenth consecutive loss for the Texans, they did not go down easy.
Case Keenum, Andre Johnson, and Ben Tate led the Houston offense to a quick 10-0 lead, and a 17-7 advantage at the half. The Pats lone score of the first-half came on a spectacular 23-yard touchdown catch by Rob Gronkowski. But in what has become a recurring theme for this year's team, the Patriots came out firing in the second half. Matching the Texans score for score, Tom Brady spread the ball around and moved the offense up and down the field with ease, with LeGarette Blount, James Develin, and Shane Vereen all finding the end zone in the second half.
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But Case Keenum kept Houston in the game, and was able to take full advantage of a Patriots defense that continues to struggle in defending teams both on the ground and through the air. Houston running back Ben Tate rushed for 102 yard and 3 touchdowns on the day, while Keenum added a 5-yard touchdown run of his own.
The MVP of the game may go to Stephen Gostowski,who despite missing a 55-yard field goal in the first half, hit two 53-yarders in the fourth quarter to give the Patriots a 34-31 edge with 3 minutes remaining. Faced with a last chance 4th and 13 scenario with 2 minutes remaining, the Patriots finally stepped up and collapsed the pocket on Case Keenum, solidifying a hard-fought victory.
Tom Brady turned in another strong performance, finishing the day going 29-41 for 371 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. As usual, Rob Gronkowski was his favorite target, hauling in 6 receptions for 127 yards and a score. While the defense had issues yet again, the offense continues to roll, racking up 453 total yards in the game.
Another noteworthy item from the game is that the Patriots played smart, and did not incur a single penalty on the day.
As the team continues to pursue a top seed for the AFC playoffs, they will face the Cleveland Browns next Sunday in Foxborough.