Patriots’ Defense Dominates in 27-6 Win over Texans


Led by a dominating defense, the New England Patriots got back on track Sunday night, with a 27-6 victory over the Houston Texans.

Against a lot of familiar faces on the other side, the New England Patriots were able to roll into town and take care of the Houston Texans on Sunday night. The defense was spectacular as the Patriots controlled this one throughout, walking away with a 27-6 victory.

Coming off of back-to-back losses to the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles, it was certainly nice to see the Patriots come into Houston and take care of business. Tom Brady led the offense with a workman-like 22-for-30 passing performance for 225 yards and two touchdowns. The rushing game also pitched in with a combined 106 yards on 25 carries, but the Patriots’ dominant defense was the story in this one.

With tough man-to-man coverage by Logan Ryan and safety help over-the-top, the Patriots were able to hold Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in check. Hopkins is far-and-away the best offensive weapon in the Texans’ arsenal, and the Patriots game-planned to take him away from the start.

Malcolm Butler did an incredible job in straight man-to-man coverage on Nate Washington, but it was Ryan’s work on Hopkins that was the most impressive. Ryan received a lot of safety help, but he was a defensive star in this one, holding arguably the most talented receiver in the NFL to only three receptions for 52 yards.

More from New England Patriots

Led by strong play by linebackers Jerod Mayo, Jamie Collins and the entire defensive line, the Patriots were pretty much able to hold the Texans’ running game in check as well.

The play of the secondary and against the Texans’ rushing attack was impressive, but nothing was as impressive as the Patriots’ relentless pass rush in this game. They were able to get pressure on Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer throughout the game, and reaching Hoyer in the backfield a total of six times.

Jabaal Sheard led the way with two sacks, and was able to strip the ball out of Hoyer’s possession both times. Akiem Hicks was able to match Sheard with two sacks, getting relentless pressure on the quarterback throughout the game. This was Hicks best game in a Patriots’ uniform.

More from Chowder and Champions

Fellow defensive linemen Rob Ninkovich and Dominique Easley were the ones to grab the other two sacks. All of the sacks came from the defensive lineman which made sense, as the Patriots were able to get consistent pressure on the passer without using many blitzes.

Offensively, Brady led a strong and stable attack all night. Returning from his knee injury, tight end Rob Gronkowski was Brady’s primary target on the night. Gronkowski caught all four passes thrown his way for 87 yards and a touchdown in relatively limited work. Most importantly, Gronk told NBC’s Michelle Tafoya, “It’s feeling good” when asked about his knee after the game.

The Patriots did not give Gronkowksi a full load, but he sure did look good out there. His 45-yard first-quarter reception quickly led to the Patriots’ first scoring drive of the night, giving them a 7-0 lead. Right before the two teams headed into half-time, Brady found Gronkowski on a fade route where he dominated Texans’ safety Quintin Demps for a one-yard touchdown. Gronk is back, and he looked good.

Next: Julian Edelman to Return Sooner than Expected?

All in all, a great overall team victory for the Patriots who now sit at 11-2. With the Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals both losing earlier in the day, the Patriots now sit in their rightful spot at the top of the AFC.