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Other Week 1 Game Recaps

Week 1 Game Recap: Houston Texans 20, New England Patriots 27

What you need to know

Houston Texans

Will Fuller and Keke Coutee are both respectively working back from hamstring injuries. Sammie Coates Jr. also filled in at wide receiver but had limited offensive snaps.

Rookie Vyncint Smith touched the field to be the Texans vertical threat instead of Fuller and he did have two targets with no receptions in limited work.

Rookies Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas has extended work on offense and caught their targets. Griffin remains the Texans primary tight end until further notice.

New England Patriots

Philip Dorsett is operating as the clear WR2, and out targeted Chris Hogan

Brady is going to spread targets liberally, which will make for inconsistent passing game stats beyond Gronk

With Jeremy Hill hurt, expect Rex Burkhead to be the primary ball carrier on early downs, while James White continues to get passing game snaps

Houston Texans

QB Deshaun Watson, 74 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 34 - 176 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 8 - 40 - 0
It was not the start the Texans wanted to see from Deshaun Watson especially after an opening play fumble by him trying to handoff to Lamar Miller. Watson was inaccurate most of the game and was lackluster to start the first half. He only threw for 61 yards in the first half and was out of sorts paying attention to a rush that was not near him. His only interception came from forcing the football to a receiver double covered in the end zone that he should have not thrown. The second half was a little better for Watson completing 12 passes but it still wasnít enough to pull the win out for the Texans. He did hit Bruce Ellington for a 4-yard touchdown and even added 40 yards on the ground showing that his ACL is just fine. Watson looked rusty and made some poor decisions but as the game wore on, he did some good things.

RB Lamar Miller, 57 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 98 - 0, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (2 targets)
Knocking on the door step of rushing for a 100 yards, Lamar Miller had one of his better games for the offense. Ripping off a 31 yard run to get the Texans out from deep their own territory, Miller looks much stronger and quicker this season. He showed the ability to break tackles and more importantly gain positive yards. Still the Texans top back, Millerís 20 carries are right in his sweet spot of when he is most effective. Add in 1 reception for 11 yards, it was a good showing for Miller and the running game.

RB Alfred Blue, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 36 - 1
There were only 10 offensive snaps for Blue but he produced 36 yards on 5 carries. Which was more impressive is how he pounded the rock and moved the pile. Blue had a 1-yard touchdown run to get the Texans their first touchdown of the season. Blue remains a spot filler for Miller but it was a good showing for the veteran back.

WR DeAndre Hopkins, 73 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -7 - 0, Rec: 8 - 78 - 0 (11 targets)
DeAndre Hopkins was blanketed by Stephone Gilmore all game but he was able to produce 8 catches with his longest being 17. Hopkins remained the Texans primary target in the passing game and even when Deshaun Watson was struggling, the offense adjusted and moved Hopkins to the slot. With that simple move it opened up easier throws to hit Hopkins. There was not many yards after the catch but the Texans will continue to feed him the ball at all costs.

WR Bruce Ellington, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 37 - 1 (8 targets)
With so many injuries all ready to the wide receiver group, Bruce Ellington was the second most experience player at the position. Ellington was moved around and was used primarily as the slot until Hopkins was moved there. Ellington dropped two passes on catchable passes and going back to the preseason the past three games he has dropped 5 passes in that stretch. Ellington did have a 5 yard touchdown reception on a designed play for him to get into the opening of the defense. Ellington also showed some catch and run ability but his drop issue is a slight concern.

TE Ryan Griffin, 63 offensive snaps (5 targets)
Ryan Griffin is the primary tight end and even though he had zero receptions during the game, he was wide open on four of those targets in which Watson delivered poor passes. The most egregious one was when Griffin was 1-on-1 with a safety, had him beat to the end zone and Watson threw a inaccurate pass no where close for Griffin to make a play. Griffin had golden chances to make plays but was let down by Watson who couldnít deliver.

New England Patriots

QB Tom Brady, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 39 - 277 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0
Brady and the Pats offense came firing out of the gate, then slowed down a bit in the second half as the Texans defense found their legs. With an injury to Jeremy Hill, Sony Michel out, and the rest of the running game producing middling results, Brady was relied upon as usual to help carry the team despite a dearth of pass catchers. Only 13 of Brady's 39 attempts went to wide receivers, while 17 went to running backs. Unsurprisingly, his best connections were with Gronk, though Philip Dorsett played a surprisingly efficient chain mover role. Brady's first touchdown was a nice throw to Gronk placed just near the big tight end's back shoulder near the end zone on a deeper ball. Gronk was double covered, but naturally made the catch and scored anyways. The next two scores were fairly easy - one was to a wide open James White out of the backfield, and the other was to Dorsett on an out route. Brady did misfire several throws, including an easy touchdown toss to Rex Burkhead. All in all, though, he looked like the same old star for much of the game.

RB Rex Burkhead, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 64 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (3 targets)
Burkhead saw more snaps than expected due to an injury to Jeremy Hill, but wasn't able to produce much despite seeing 19 touches. His best run was a 12 yard scamper between a hole, and his day would have been much bigger if Tom Brady hadn't overthrown him for a TD on a pass route where he easily beat a linebacker. He also committed a fumble, but luckily the Pats recovered. Big days will be ahead if Hill's injury is serious.

RB James White, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 18 - 0, Rec: 4 - 38 - 1 (9 targets)
James White was used as a receiver more often than as a runner despite Jeremy Hill's injury, which wasn't a surprise. His biggest play of note was a wide open touchdown catch out of the backfield. He was used in a variety of formations, and did start at the running back position and flexed out wide multiple times. White will continue to be used in a bit fashion mostly in the receiving game, especially with Julian Edelman out.

WR Phillip Dorsett, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 66 - 1 (7 targets)
Surprisingly, Philip Dorsett was a main vein in the passing game against the Texans, moving the chains several times. The Texans defensive backs weren't exactly world beaters, but he did what he had to do as Tom Brady searched for weapons. His touchdown was a nice out route that thoroughly beat his covering defender. He may show inconsistency week to week, but his snap and target count showed that he's towards the top of the WR pecking order while Julian Edelman is out.

WR Chris Hogan, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (5 targets)
Hogan had a fairly disappointing day, as he wasn't targeted much, and didn't separate as well as normal. With a thin WR corps and Julian Edelman on suspension, he should kick things into gear, but his Week 2 matchup doesn't get any easier.

TE Rob Gronkowski, 75 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 123 - 1 (8 targets)
To absolutely no one's surprise, Gronk was Tom Brady's top target, catching multiple chunk seam passes and scoring a touchdown to boot. His score was a nice deep back shoulder throw in double coverage that saw Gronk simply snare the ball away from defenders and narrowly prance into the end zone for a score. The big blemish on the day was that he fumbled a ball, and Jeremy Hill was hurt chasing the fumble. Still, he will be the focal point of the offense for at least the next few weeks.