The New England Patriots beat the Houston Texans 41-28 to advance to the AFC Championship Game next Sunday. New England had a great game versus the hungry Texans, and showed up with a mission on their mind, to win. The score was close at half, 17-13, but in the third, New England put the game away. New England, ran the ball with success and threw with even better success. They lost Danny Woodhead early in the game, along with Rob Gronkowski, who is now out the remainder of the playoff season.
To start the game the Texans returner, also their starting safety, Daniel Manning, took the opening kickoff, 94 yards to New England’s 12 yard line. Safety Devin McCourty caught back up to Manning to make the tackle. The Patriots defense stood tall thanks to a James Casey drop touchdown catch, forced the Texans to a field goal. Then with 4minutes to play in the first quarter, throwing mostly to the RBs, the Patriots scored with a 1 yard td run by Shane Vereen. In the second, the Patriots drove the football up the field to the Texans 16 yard line, but a unsportsmanlike penalty on Brandon Lloyd set the Patriots back for an first and twenty five try at the 31 yard line, so the Patriots settled for a 37 yard field by kicker Gostkowski to make it 10-3. 6minutes left in the half, and Wes Welker made an incredible grab for 47 yards to set up New England for another score and then Brady hit RB Shane Vereen for an 8 yard td reception by the RB. Then Special Teams hurt the Patriots once more as Daniel Manning return the kick for 35 yards, and then Gostkowski was called for an horse collar, to add 15 more yards to the play, giving the Texans the ball at New England’s 48 yard line. Without having to throw a pass, the Texans called on Foster to lead them to the goal line and then take it in for a one yard TD run. The Patriots showed bad game management as they quickly went three and out allowing the Texans enough time to get a 55 yard field goal with Shayne Graham to make the score 13-17 at the half.
The second half started with New England getting the ball first. Tom Brady lead the Patriots up the field and RB Steven Ridley finished the drive with a eight yard TD run. The Texans went three and out having to punt the ball back to New England but the referees missed a call when tight end Owen Daniels had fumbled, but the ref’s had blew the play dead before ever really giving it a chance to play out, leading to a fumble. The Patriots went three and out and punted back to the Texans who was starting at their own 5 yard line. Schuab hit Foster on a screen pass that went for 28 yards and then up came a 3rd and 16, and Schuab connected with Johnson for the first down. The Texans were driving but then Schuab was intercepted by Rob Ninkovich, and Ridley began running the ball effectively for New England. After a 23 yrd run by Ridley, Brady hit Brandon Lloyd for a 5 yard TD pass. The Patriots went up 31-13 with 4 minutes remaining in the third. After giving up a first down on a 4th down run by the Texan’s Foster, the Patriots held on another 4th and one attempt, an incomplete pass by Schuab. The very first play on offense for the Patriots after forcing a turnover on downs, Brady hit RB Shane Vereen for a 33 yard TD pass. Vereen tied the record for most TDs in a post season game for the Patriots (Curtis Martin, Rob Gronkowski). That was Brady’s fifth post season game of throwing for over 300 yards. 13 mins remained in the game and the Texans began moving with quickness, special teams once again, hurt New England, giving up a 69 yard kick off return for Daniel Manning. Schuab hit Posey for a 25 yrd TD pass. Patriots punted back to the Texans, and with the help of penalties, moving the Texans up the field, Schuab hit Foster for a 1 yard TD pass. The Texans went for two, and converted with a pass to Andre Johnson, to make the score 28-38 with 4 minutes to play. The Texans tried for an on side kick but New England recovered, and Ridley lead the team up the field and the Patriots connected on a 38 yard field goal to make 28-41 with only a minute left and it effectively ended the game. Final Score Texans 28. New England 41.
Tom Brady was brilliant in getting his record for most playoff wins by a QB with 17. Tom Brady finished the game, 25-40 for 344 yards and three touchdowns. Tom Brady had time for the most part of the game and made the most of it. The Patriots went no huddle for most of the game, but they didn’t go fast pace like they usually do on most plays, their fast pace offense is so quick you barely have time to breath, in this game, it was clear the game plan was to get up to the line of scrimmage fast, but take your time before the snap to run the clock. The Patriots wanted to keep the ball in their hands for as long as possible and score points. In the second half, the Patriots began going very fast pace, ending the game quicker. The no huddle, fast pace, by New England helped the Patriots to another win, and the Texans was getting shredded by the fast pace. The only real thing the Patriots offense did not look good doing was game management right before the half, allowing 10 points in almost 2minutes. The Patriots had the ball with a minute left and it was clear they didn’t have a plan weather they should run the clock or try to score. They was in limbo and the Texans got the ball back with time for a half ending field goal to cut the lead by four. The score was 13-17 at the half. Then the Patriots mismanaged things mid- way through the fourth to allow the Texans to cut into the lead, even though, the Patriots were not in danger of losing the game and Patriots ended up winning 28-41.
Shane Vereen had an excellent game, rushing for 41 yards and a TD, along with that having 83 yards receiving and two touchdown catches. Wes Welker had 131 yards, Hernandez had 85 yards, and Brandon Lloyd had one TD.
The Patriots defense had a great game. They were aggressive, playing good coverage for the most part. The Texans scored their touchdowns on good field position usually, giving up by the Special Teams. New England’s Special Teamers were the only ones who had a bad game. The Patriots came out with a plan and executed it well enough to win the game and advance ahead.