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Week 13 Game Recap: New England Patriots 22, Houston Texans 28


What you need to know

New England Patriots

Receivers and separation are possibly the biggest reason the Patriots canít get their offense going. It also doesnít help that Tom Brady is being inconsistent. Can the Pats find more balance in their offense?

Houston Texans

TE Jordan Thomas continues to get work at tight end and O'Brien for the second time since the tight end's return discussed keeping him involved in the offense.

WR Will Fuller was on the field. He had a 35-yard touchdown pass knocked out of his hands from a well-thrown ball from Deshaun Watson.

WR Keke Coutee remains inactive with Thomas coming back from the injured reserve.

RB Carlos Hyde on the field for normal usage, and he was only able to muster 23 total yards on 11 touches the entire game.

New England Patriots

QB Tom Brady, 87 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 47 - 326 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 13 - 0
Donít let the stat line fool you - once again, this was a bad Patriots offense who couldnít get it done against a beatable defense. Tom Brady was off on several throws - high on some like on a would-be touchdown to Phillip Dorsett, low on others. It wasnít all on him - receivers not getting separation is a big issue, as often he simply had nothing to throw to. The game plan was also an odd one - after the first drive which had good success on the ground, the Pats started throwing the ball way too often. Yes, Houston came out to defend the run a bit more, but the Pats have countered that in the past easily with formations, no huddle, etc. Bradyís first touchdown to James White was on a swing/wheel route, and his second was on an improvised scramble as the pocket broke down. His touchdown to Julian Edelman was on a semi-broken play by the defense, as Edelman ran right by his defender. It also seems the coaching staff felt Bradyís interception was NKeal Harryís fault, as he let his defender outmuscle him on a slant route. Still, as is par now, Brady almost tossed one or two more that should have been picks. This is an offense that isnít going to be fixed easily - between bad separation and inconsistent QB play, games where opposing offenses can put up points are going to be big issues.

RB James White, 68 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 79 - 0, Rec: 8 - 98 - 2 (11 targets)
Simply put, this was a garbage time special in large part. The Pats spent the entire fourth quarter in catch-up mode, which meant White saw most of those snaps. His first touchdown was a wheel route from the backfield where no defender followed him closely. His second was on an improvised slant route where Tom Brady had to scramble out of the pocket. The good news is James White needed to get more involved. The Pats clearly have a wide receiver issue, yet Whiteís touch counts the last few game have been 3, 9, 11, and 6. He needs to be more involved.

RB Sony Michel, 15 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 45 - 0
Once again, Sony Michel looked decent, particularly on the first drive of the game. However, the coaching staff went away from the run game for some reason, and the Patriots were forced to go into passing mode for most of the second half. Heís been better the past few weeks, and hopefully he gets more consistency in touches.

WR Julian Edelman, 80 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -7 - 0, Rec: 6 - 106 - 1 (12 targets)
Unfortunately, Julian Edelman canít do it all every game. The Texans had him double covered constantly, yet he still managed to kick out over 100 yards and a score on a play where he ran right by a defender. He also had a 44 yard play on a wide open crossing route that the offensive line gave Brady time on. Again, there isnít much more to say - to this point of the season, Julian Edelman has been the Patriots offense, and he needs help.

WR Jakobi Meyers, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 46 - 0 (7 targets)
Meyers highlights were wiping out about 60 yards of passing plays due to bad penalties in crucial parts of the 4th quarter. That said, he was playing a good complement of snaps, a sign heís still ahead of NKeal Harry.

WR Mohamed Sanu, 19 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 14 - 0 (5 targets)
Terrible game for Sanu. He wasnít getting open, and when he did, he ran a bad route that saw him a yard short of a first down, then dropped the 4th down conversion. Heíll need to do better going forward.

WR NKeal Harry, 22 offensive snaps (1 targets)
Harry barely played after a play where he was the intended target of a Tom Brady pick. On the play, Harry was outmuscled by Bradley Roby, who picked off a slant route. Heíll be more involved, but clearly needs to earn Tom Bradyís trust.

TE Ben Watson, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 23 - 0 (1 targets)
Watson had a nice broken tackle on a 3rd and long to convert a first down. Beyond that, he didnít do much.


Houston Texans

QB Deshaun Watson, 56 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 25 - 234 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - -1 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 1 (1 targets)
When "Prime Time" games are on, Deshaun Watson is at his best, and Sunday evening was no different. Watson accounted for four touchdowns, which included a six-yard reception from DeAndre Hopkins to ice the game. Watson had touchdown passes for 35, 14, and 13 yards during the game with his best throw going to Kenny Stills. Stills beat his man deep in the back of the end zone, and Watson threw a perfectly placed ball for him to catch and drag two feet in. When the Texans needed plays due to the running game struggling, Watson was able to get it going through the air.

RB Duke Johnson, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 36 - 0, Rec: 5 - 54 - 1 (6 targets)
When Duke Johnson is on the field and getting touches, especially in the passing game, good things happen for the offense. He started the scoring for the Texans when they got him singled up on a Patriots linebacker for a 15-yard touchdown pass from Watson on an easy out route. Johnson waltzed into the end zone untouched, and then he was able to catch four more passes for 39 yards. Then lead the Texans in rushing with 36 yards with his longest run being 13-yards against the Patriots stout rushing defense.

RB Carlos Hyde, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 17 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets)
Hyde on the field for normal usage, and he was only able to muster 23 total yards on 11 touches the entire game.

WR DeAndre Hopkins, 47 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 1 - 6 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rec: 5 - 64 - 0 (8 targets)
Stephon Gilmore was up to the task early, slowing Hopkins in the passing game, but in the second half, he came alive. Four of five Hopkins receptions went for a first down with his longest coming on a 27-yard catch and run. Hopkins beat Gilmore on a slant and was able to knock Gilmore to the ground to break the tackle to eat up around ten more yards of ground. His best play came on a trick play that saw him take a handoff from Duke Johnson only to throw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Deshaun Watson to ice the game.

WR Kenny Stills, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 61 - 1 (4 targets)
With the Patriots slowing down Will Fuller, Kenny Stills was able to get one one one matchups majority of the game. He dropped a key 3rd down throw to keep the chains moving but was able to answer back with a 35-yard touchdown reception that saw him beat his defender to the back of the end zone. Stills was able to snag the pass while dragging his back foot to flip momentum to the Texans on a big play score. Stills also had a 20-yard reception to jump-start the offense coming out in the second half across the middle of the field.

WR Will Fuller, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (2 targets)
Fuller was on the field. He had a 35-yard touchdown pass knocked out of his hands from a well-thrown ball from Deshaun Watson.

TE Darren Fells, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 23 - 1 (3 targets)
There were only two catches on the day for Fells, but his biggest came rewriting the Texans record books for tight ends catching his 7th of the season from Watson. From an inverted wishbone look, Fells snuck out of the backfield into wide open space to catch and nice toss from Watson for a 13-yard touchdown.