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Other Week 14 Game Recaps

Week 14 Game Recap: New England Patriots 27, Houston Texans 6

What you need to know

New England Patriots

LeGarrette Blount was off to a good start, but left with a hip injury. Brandon Bolden got most of the carries after that, but was unimpressive. Tom Brady had a solid game, but didn't need to take many chances and his stat line was average because the Texans never really made this a game. Rob Gronkowski is back, and not quite himself, but still easily the #1 tight end heading into Week 15.

Houston Texans

- Alfred Blue saw zero snaps on offense. It was a coaches decision. - C.J. Fiedorowicz continues to take a back seat to Ryan Griffin who has clearly taken over the tight end position. - Akeem Hunt is getting into the game but not enough to make a difference with minimal snaps. - T.J. Yates is set to start for the Texans against the Colts. Hoyer is dealing with his second concussion of the year and he also has a neck strain from the 7 sacks the Patriots put on him.

New England Patriots

QB Tom Brady, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 30 - 226 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 10 - 0
Compared to the last few weeks, this was a great game for Brady and the Patriots offense. There was more balance, the offensive line held up better (especially in the first half), and Brady seemed more at ease in general. The Pats were also able to absolutely stifle J.J. Watt, making him look like a pick-up off the street with their gameplanning. His stat line doesn't show it with gaudy numbers, but Brady himself also had a very solid game. Smart decision making, limiting unnecessary risks, and getting the ball to the right people were key. The Pats also played the horizontal game well. Brady's first touchdown went to Keshawn Martin, who ran a great inside-out double move to get wide open in the endzone. His second was a 1 yard corner fade to Rob Gronkowski, who dominated his safety in coverage for an easy score. Besides a couple big gains to Gronk, most of Brady's throws were short and intermediate, though he was afforded time to throw on most occasions.

RB Brandon Bolden, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 51 - 0
Filling in for an injured LeGarrette Blount, this may have been one of Brandon Bolden's best games as a Patriot. He had 2 or 3 runs where he simply took defenders with him when he should have been tackled and picked up plenty of extra yardage, moving his legs with power and consistency. If Blount's injury is major, Bolden will see a key role going forward.

RB LeGarrette Blount, 15 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 53 - 0
Prior to going down with injury, Blount had a fairly decent day, though he had a couple odd runs where he ran straight into a pile of defenders as opposed to waiting with patience and potentially hitting other holes. His highlight run saw him ëtackled' on top of a defender, but never hit the ground. He rumbled for an additional 10 yards afterwards, much to the dismay of defenders. His injury bears watching, as it looked to be hip related.

RB James White, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 1, Rec: 4 - 38 - 0 (6 targets)
Once again, when he got the ball, White was great in space and outmaneuvering defenders, primarily used in a pass catching format. He had an amazing leaping catch called back after a questionable review process, and did score a short touchdown on a savvy draw play by the coaches. White will continue to see passing game work.

WR Danny Amendola, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 46 - 0 (8 targets)
Danny Amendola was his usual self, making tough catches in shorter areas of the field. It was notable, however, that he tried a couple juke moves once he made receptions at different times, and none of them ended up working out. Though he's clearly one of Brady's most trusted targets at the moment, it may be plays such as this that separate Julian Edelman and Amendola.

WR Brandon LaFell, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 32 - 0 (8 targets)
Almost all of LaFell's catches were screens, hence his low yards per catch total. LaFell also had a patented blatant drop in the third quarter that would have gone for around 10 yards, keeping consistent with his play all year. He doesn't appear to be improving, but the coaches have attempted to mask this with screens.

WR Keshawn Martin, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 23 - 1 (4 targets)
Martin had two highlights on the day, with one being good and one not so good. His positive was his touchdown grab, in which he juked a defender on an inside out double move to score with ease. He had a couple good punt returns, but then muffed one, and was yanked from those duties after that. Martin should continue to see a bit role until Julian Edelman returns.

TE Rob Gronkowski, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 87 - 1 (4 targets)
The big man is back, and it showed. Gronk had two huge catch and runs, beating defenders with ease. His touchdown was a corner fade against a safety, which is likely going to be a touchdown more often than not. Gronk didn't play every snap, but he looked fairly comfortable, even blocking defensive ends 1 on 1 at a couple points.

TE Scott Chandler, 1 offensive snaps
Chandler wasn't targeted at all with Gronk back in the fold.

Houston Texans

QB Brian Hoyer, 51 offensive snaps, Pass: 11 - 22 - 155 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0
For Brian Hoyer to come out alive of this game is near amazing. The Patriots sacked him seven times and Hoyer ended up with a concussion and strained neck putting his weekend into doubt for the Colts. With that said Hoyer’s evening was plagued with drops from his receivers and some poorly thrown balls that were needed in clutch situations. He under threw a deep ball to Washington that if thrown on time could have been an easy touchdown. He also forced some throws to the sideline to Hopkins and Washington that ended up uncatchable. On a key third down play, Hoyer had Griffin wide open and threw the ball behind him resulting in one of many punts for the Texans. Hoyer struggled all game getting in sync with his receivers and ended up being one of his worst production games of the season.

RB Chris Polk, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 34 - 0, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (2 targets)
Polk received his first NFL start and his hard running style produced only 34 yards with nine yards being his long run. The effort is there but the talent is suspect and he continues to be a straight ahead runner with little break away speed. Polk caught a nine yard pass from Hoyer in the flats early in the first quarter but it was an overall unimpressive day for Polk on the ground and through the air.

RB Jonathan Grimes, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 53 - 0, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (2 targets)
Jonathan Grimes ripped off the longest run of the day with a 37 yard scamper that was the result of some timely blocking. Grimes let the blocks develop off the right side of the line and then went to work getting into the second level. Grimes did little else after that big run and was limited in the passing game.

WR Cecil Shorts, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 0 - 0, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (3 targets)
Shorts was shut down by the Patriots and only had two receptions during the game. Shorts’ long reception came on a 10 yard catch and run in the middle of the field where he made two defenders miss. The Texans also tried to get Shorts going in the wildcat but the two carries resulted in no yards. Shorts was pretty much a non-factor all game for the Texans offense.

WR DeAndre Hopkins, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 52 - 0 (6 targets)
The Patriots hounded Hopkins all evening and kept him blanketed with defenders. His first target and reception did not happen until almost four minutes left in the first half on a simple out patter for seven yards. Hoyer did not look towards Hopkins much during the game but took two deep shots to Hopkins. One resulted in an over throw that was not close to Hopkins, while the other rustled in a 40-yard reception. It was an uneventful evening for Hopkins besides his one long reception.

WR Nate Washington, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 49 - 0 (4 targets)
Sooner or later Nate Washington is going to earn his keep. The chances are there for him but he is not winning the one-on-one situations in the passing game. Washington is showing that he can stretch the defense and Hoyer is having issues hitting him in stride. Even with that, Washington had his hand on two footballs that he let the defenders knock out his his hands on the way down. The first one came on a pass to the middle of the field and Washington when up and had his hand on the football but was knocked out late. The other came on a redbone target that would have been a touchdown but once again he had his hands on the ball only to have it punched away on the way down to the ground. There was an early glimmer of hope for Washington when Hoyer hit him for a 49 yard strike on a 3rd and long situation to open up the Texans attack in the 1st quarter. The Texans are trying everything to get Washington to take some of the offensive production but he is not holding up his end of the bargain.

TE Ryan Griffin, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 20 - 0 (6 targets)
His one catch of 20-yards was a his highlight of the game. He got to the middle of the field wide open and Hoyer hit him in stride for a solid catch and run. Majority of the game, Griffin was plagued with drops. He was wide open on two throws that would have been 20 plus yards a catch but failed to haul in the pass. He got his hands on both passes but had one bounce loose when he hit the ground and had the other fall out of his hands after a defender chopped down on his arm. Griffin’s drops have plagued him since he returned from the injured reserve.