By Brien O’Donal
Follow me on Twitter @ODonalsVanguard
Boy oh Boy! Now that’s the kind of game I like to see. I fully expected the Texans offense to be rather futile against the Patriots this week but they were anything but. I should correct that, Deshaun Watson was anything but. He seemed to be well beyond his rookie year in this offense and with the line issues; he kept his poise and delivered some great passes when they were needed. The Texans’ defense was also pretty amazing in their play. Despite some coverage lapses they kept the game from getting too out of hand and were even able to score a touchdown. That combination of offensive and defensive ball control made a great game for the Texans although they once again had to overcome a lot of penalties. In the end though, it was Tom Brady once again delivering in the clutch and sending them home with a loss.
Early on it looked like the Texans might really be able to stun the Patriots on their home field with their swarming defense. The Patriots were up 14-13 early in the 2nd quarter when Whitney Mercilus forced a sack fumble of Tom Brady that went right into the hands of Jadeveon Clowney for a 22-yard touchdown giving the Texans the lead for the second time in the game, 20-14. It was a dogfight the rest of the way.
The Patriots would get two more wide open touchdowns to go up 28-20 but Deshaun Watson was not done being great just yet. He drove the ball and hit Ryan Griffin for a 12-yard touchdown to get it to 28-27 Patriots. In the 4th quarter he was able to get them in position for another field goal putting them up 30-28.
The Texans in the 4th quarter looked like a very different team. They were dominant on both sides of the ball just taking as much time off the clock as they could. With under 3 minutes left in the game they had out gained the Patriots by almost 100 yards. A final field goal game them a 33-28 lead, putting the ball in Tom Brady’s hands to make a comeback drive.
Tom Brady was good in this game and his receivers were able to get wide open on a few occasions. But in between those great plays, their offense wasn’t as fluid as it needed to be. The Texans defense played well and held the Patriots to only 59 yards rushing on 20 attempts. They sacked Brady 4 times and got 1 turnover for a touchdown. It was that effort that really helped Watson have the ball so much. He used them wisely to gain an edge in time of possession, which I have been saying all along is the secret for the Texans’ offense to thrive.
This was the most complete game I’ve seen by the Texans in a long time. The season is early but the issues in the first two games seemed to be hidden behind Deshaun Watson’s playmaking skills. He finished the game 22 of 33 for 301 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions for a 90.6 rating. But more importantly it was his 8 carries for 41 yards that kept the offense moving. His ability to escape the pressure and turn negative yards positive kept them on the field and moved a lot of their drives into scoring position.
The coverage lapses for the Texans on defense are the only reason this game was even close. And for most of the 4th quarter it looked like that great effort would be enough. Sadly though, it’s hard to overcome Tom Brady; who once again made an amazing throw in the waning moments of the game to get the touchdown he needed to win. He finished the day with 5 touchdown passes to complete the 36-33 win. It was there that the rookie in Deshaun Watson showed up. He allowed almost 10 seconds to come off the clock after a long pass play on the final drive that forced a final hail mary attempt. That was intercepted and the Patriots escaped a close game with a win.