Tom Brady and the New England Patriots avoided their third straight loss with a 27-6 win over the Houston Texans. With an opportunity to make a statement in the nationally televised game of the week on Sunday night the Houston Texans provided little opposition against New England. The Patriots win clinched yet another division crown for the Patriots and another 11 win season under head coach Bill Belichek.
Houston managed just two first half field goals despite second half opportunities to stay close and make a game of it. New England sacked quarterback Brian Hoyer six times in the contest. The former Patriots back-up completed 11of 22 for a 155 yards with no touchdowns just a week after throwing for nearly 300 yards and three touchdowns. Hoyer left the game in the fourth with a possible concussion but back-up T.J. Yates could do nothing either to get the Texans offense on track.
“I don’t have a lot to say, just a bad night. Didn’t coach well, obviously made too many mistakes. Couldn’t move the ball very well on offense at all. Thought the defense did some good things but not enough and special teams we didn’t play very well,” summed up Texans head coach Bill O’Brien after the loss.
John Simon’s fumble recovery on a muffed punt by former Texan Keyshawn Martin gave Houston the ball at the New England 22 yard line trailing 20-6 with 10:36 left in the third quarter but four plays late Houston turned it over on downs.
Late in the third, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney recorded his first sack of the dayhelping to give Hoyer and company the ball back at the Houston 38 yard line but nothing came of it. Another Clowney sack late in the fourth helped give the ball back to Houston but again nothing came of it from an offense that managed only 189 yards of total offense against a Patriots team that yielded 38 points a week earlier to Philadelphia.
Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was held to three catches for 52 yards and no touchdowns in the loss. JJ Watt was held without a sack.
Brady threw touchdown passes to Martin and Gronkowski in the win that improved the NFL’s best road record to since 2000 to 83-43. New England which has recorded a sack in every game of 2015 also own the NFL’s best December overall record since 2001 at 53-9 and the best final four games of the season record since 2010 at 18-3.
The Texans will visit Indianapolis next week with a chance to still control their own destiny in the AFC South despite a 6-7 record. Houston has won just once at Indianapolis but will face a Colts team also 6-7 that was routed by Jacksonville on Sunday 51-16.
Kick-off is set for noon CDT.