What a game that was just punched in by the Houston Texans and New England Patriots Sports Debate Network! It was a back and forth affair from both teams and both quarterbacks showed just what they can do as the New England Patriots beat the Houston Texans, 36-33, with a game-winning touchdown with 23 seconds left in the game.
It was a shootout from the start and what really impressed me was the poise of rookie quarterback, Deshaun Watson. He looked like Cam Newton 2.0, but his level-headed play, scrambling outside the pocket and making the necessary throws was hurting the Patriots defense. The Patriots had a tough time containing him, finishing of tackles and sacks and ended up giving Watson opportunities to throw on the run or dump it off to an open man for a big gain. With the amount of pressure he was getting, he was cool, calm and collective and for most of the game made the right decisions. He was a nightmare for the Patriots up until the 4th quarter and even then he was still making plays.
The Patriots made plays, scored some, but we’re inconsistent on the defensive side of the ball and had a hard time running the ball. J.J. Watt and Jedeveon Clowney were wreaking havoc on the offensive line for a good chunk of the game. They were getting to Tom Brady with especially on Brady’s blind side. Nate Solder simply had a bad game protecting Brady from the left side and ultimately got Brady to cough up the ball a couple of times, including fumbling the ball on a tackle from Whitney Mercilus on the Patriots own 15-yard line in which Clowney caught in the air and took to the house for a score. The Texans completely shut down the run game and it was up to TB12, to save the day again.
The score was 21-20 Patriots heading into half time.
Both defenses would step it up slightly in the 2nd half, but it was still all about the quarterbacks. Watson was making plays on the scramble, found his tight end Ryan Griffin really well and was doing what was necessary in order for them to stay within the Patriots bubble. Brady was completing passes at high percentage in the 2nd half, but his run game was non-existent which brought the heat of the D-lineman on him and it was a struggle for him for a while.
After scoring a field goal in the 4th quarter after a 3rd and one stop near the end zone, the Patriots were down 33-28 with under 2 minutes to go. The Patriots only had one timeout left and it was Brady time from there. The Patriots would march down 75 yards on 8 plays and score the go-ahead touchdown on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Brandin Cooks, who had his best game as a Patriot thus far, with 23 seconds left. After a completion, Watson would throw an interception on a last-secomd Hail Mary and that was the ball game, comeback complete.
For the Patriots, Tom Brady had 378 passing yards and 5 touchdowns passes! Brandin Cooks had 131 receiving yards on 5 catches and 2 TD catches including the game winner. Rob Gronkowski had 89 receiving yards on 8 catches and a TD catch, while Chris Hogan had 4 catches for 68 yards and 2 TD catches as well.
For the Texans, Deshaun Watson threw for 301 yards, 2 TD passes and 2 interceptions, while rushing for 41 yards on 8 attempts. DeAndre Hopkins had 7 catches for 79 yards, while Ryan Griffin caught 5 passes for 61 yards and a TD grab.
The Texans are a legitimate threat if they can get production from Watson like they did today. The guy was so close to beating Tom Brady and the Patriots on their own turf in impressive fashion and he’s only a rookie! He has something special. The way he was calm in the pocket and he was comfortable with making the throws on the run. The defense of the Texans is also really good, but their secondary has a lot of holes in it in which a 1st ballot Hall of Famer in which Tom Brady completely exposed by throwing it down the field.
The Patriots move on to 2-1 on the season now, but they are lucky they have Tom Brady as their quarterback because they could have easily lost this game. No run game, the defense couldn’t tackle or finish sacks, and the offensive line was roughed up a bit, especially on that left side. To be fair, going against J.J. Watt and Jedeveon Clowney on both ends is no picnic, but teams can see those weaknesses on film and Nate Solder had a rough game and when you disrupt Brady like that and make him cough up the ball three times, you have a chance to win the ball game. Bill Belichick is the best at cleaning these things up and getting the team in shape for the next week, but you have to wonder if teams will incorporate the same kind of defensive attack the way the Texans did that was so successful for a good portion of the game.