Okay, who saw that coming? A rookie quarterback with around 30% of the playbook at his disposal, virtually no Gronkowski, a shaky defense that is sans Dont'a Hightower, and an underdog at home for the first time since 2014... If you placed a bet on the Patriots to win this big tonight then you deserve all the money coming your way and then some. Although, I find it extremely hard to fathom that some people out there had this scoreline set in their minds as the final score.
Houston, coming into the game, was considered a top 10 team in the NFL, with a stout defense led by the ever-so mentioned J.J. Watt and an offense that looked like it was on the rise. Granted, they didn't beat the best of teams in their first two contests, but if they were able to walk away from Foxborough with a W, it would've more than likely been one of the biggest wins in franchise history. Key word is "would've" because New England wasn't going to let the Texans come into their house and come away with a win. From their second drive of the game, the Patriots were locked in. Period. Jacoby Brissett, making his first career start, didn't make the flashy passes but he was a breath of fresh air in this usual pass heavy offense. He made plays happen with his legs, most notably his 27-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, which is the longest run by a Patriot QB since Steve Grogan in 1978. However, this offense was about one man and one man alone: LeGarrette Blount.
It took him awhile to get going, as he had four no yardage runs in the first half alone, but once his legs got churning in the second half, not enough the formidable J.J. Watt could stop him. He rushed for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns on 24 carries, the second consecutive week he's rushed for 100 yards, nearly beating Houston single-handedly. But give some credit to the offensive line, who opened up great holes and allowed Brissett tons of time to throw considering who was on the other side (namely Jadeveon Clowney, Vince Wilfork, and Watt).
Although, we can't talk about this game without talking about the Hightower-less defense, who pitched a shutout and forced 4 turnovers (mostly on special teams, who played terrific) for the second consecutive week. Jamie Collins was the MVP on this side of the ball, intercepting his second pass in as many weeks, and tackled runners all over the field. The secondary also played valiantly, especially taking into account who they had to match up against in Deandre Hopkins and Will Fuller. Taking away these two speedsters was the key to the game, as Lamar Miller had a hard time getting anything solid going on the ground. Jabaal Sheard and surprisingly Trey Flowers had tremendous success stopping the run, with Chris Long putting pressure on the unimpressive Brock Osweiler, who was abysmal all game long.
This game was a blowout plain and simple. Jacoby Brissett played exactly how he was supposed to, the defense was outstanding and redeemed themselves for last week's debacle, and LeGarrette Blount continued his success on the ground. Brock Osweiler seems like a bad investment for Houston right about now, as I'm sure he was paid all that money to do one thing: beat New England like he did last year in Denver. No dice this time around, Texans. Bill Belichick outplayed, out-coached, and outsmarted his Houston counterparts in every department. He had no Gronkowski to work with, a rookie quarterback under center, was on a short week, and still made his opponent look like a high school JV team. It amazes me every week. Congrats to Jacoby Brissett on his first NFL win and touchdown, and here's to at least one more W.
More game notes:
-Ryan Allen had an exceptional day punting the ball
-Cyrus Jones probably won't see anymore time on the punt return team after his recovered fumble
-Martellus Bennett had the first carry of his career
-The Patriots had 5 players record a carry out of the backfield
-James White should get the ball more on the ground, as he made some shifty moves
-Houston didn't record a single snap in Patriots territory until 1:38 left in the THIRD QUARTER
If you have any comments or questions follow @JoeyCarr9 on Twitter.