On Now
Coming Up
  • Wed., Sep. 03, 2014 12:00 AM - 11:55 AM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to the "Best of the Week" of Patriots.com Radio programming.
  • Wed., Sep. 03, 2014 8:55 AM - 9:30 AM EDT Live Belichick Presser Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference from Gillette Stadium.
  • Wed., Sep. 03, 2014 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM EDT Live Tom Brady Presser

    Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium.

  • Wed., Sep. 03, 2014 11:55 AM - 2:00 PM EDT Live PFW in Progress Have lunch with Editor in Chief Fred Kirsch along with editor Paul Perillo, assistant editor Andy Hart and staff writer Erik Scalavino as they take you behind the pages of PFW on their online radio show exclusively on Patriots.com. Send in your questions and comments to webradio@patriots.com or call (508) 298-0398.
  • Wed., Sep. 03, 2014 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM EDT Live Patriots Playbook Need your afternoon fix of Patriots information direct from the source? Listen to Patriots Playbook with John Rooke and Erik Scalavino as they bring you all of the latest Patriots talk exclusively on Patriots.com. You'll hear interviews and expert commentary from Patriots HQ.
  • Wed., Sep. 03, 2014 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM EDT Live The Bob Socci Show Join 98.5 The Sports Hub's Patriots play-by-play announcer Bob Socci every Wednesday from 4-6pm ET during the season. Bob and guests will be taking your calls and emails and discussing the Patriots from his unique viewpoint. Listen live and email your comments to webradio@patriots.com.
  • Thu., Sep. 04, 2014 12:00 AM - 11:55 AM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to the "Best of the Week" of Patriots.com Radio programming.
  • Thu., Sep. 04, 2014 11:55 AM - 2:00 PM EDT Live PFW in Progress Have lunch with Editor in Chief Fred Kirsch along with editor Paul Perillo, assistant editor Andy Hart and staff writer Erik Scalavino as they take you behind the pages of PFW on their online radio show exclusively on Patriots.com. Send in your questions and comments to webradio@patriots.com or call (508) 298-0398.
  • Thu., Sep. 04, 2014 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM EDT Live Patriots Playbook Need your afternoon fix of Patriots information direct from the source? Listen to Patriots Playbook with John Rooke and Erik Scalavino as they bring you all of the latest Patriots talk exclusively on Patriots.com. You'll hear interviews and expert commentary from Patriots HQ.
  • Thu., Sep. 04, 2014 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM EDT Live Fantasy Football Champs 120 minutes of non-stop Fantasy Football Strategy. Bill Enright and Anthony Grace are committed to helping you dominate your league. Tune in for expert analysis, weekly player rankings, and fantasy advice that will get you a Championship.
  • Thu., Sep. 04, 2014 6:00 PM - 10:20 PM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to the "Best of the Week" of Patriots.com Radio programming.
  • Fri., Sep. 05, 2014 12:30 AM - 11:59 PM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to replays of the best Patriots.com radio shows of the week
  • Sat., Sep. 06, 2014 12:00 AM - 11:15 PM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to the "Best of the Week" in Patriots.com Radio programming.
  • Sun., Sep. 07, 2014 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to replays of the best Patriots.com radio shows of the week

Patriots Football Weekly Blog

Print
RSS

Analysis: Patriots-Texans

Posted Dec 1, 2013

From the press box at Reliant Stadium, observations about New England's Week 13 win over the Houston Texans.

HOUSTON – We’ve seen this story play out before – in Miami in 2004, then again in Cleveland in 2010. The Patriots, riding high with a solid record, go on the road and play terribly against equally terrible competition and the home team wins.

That’s how the story started again in Houston Sunday afternoon, but then they dusted off the script they used just a week ago against Denver – putting their foot down on the gas pedal on offense. Problem was, the Texans kept pace with an old fashioned, Texas shootout.

But in the end, New England won its second straight game by a 34-31 score.

Here are some observations from the press box at Reliant Stadium:

Stevan Ridley’s deactivation was mildly surprising. Yes, he’s had fumbling issues of late, but to bring him on the trip to Houston, then announce just before kickoff that he wasn’t playing, appeared to be a clear message-sending move. Ridley was forced to watch the game from the sideline, in a long-sleeve t-shirt and shorts, with a football tucked under his arm the whole time.

…Special teams co-captain Matthew Slater said this week, “[The Texans] special teams unit really embarrassed us last year.” The Texans picked up where they left off on the opening kickoff almost to midfield.

…New England lined TE Rob Gronkowski up in the backfield, left of Brady, on the opening series 3rd-down. Shane Vereen was flanked to Brady’s right. At the snap, Gronk ran an an angle pattern (45 degrees out of the backfield), but Brady did not look his way. This was something we haven’t seen from Gronk and the Patriots offense before.

…CB Aqib Talib was manning up on Texans receiver Andre Johnson early on, but would pass him off when he went in motion or ran a route against zone coverage. Johnson was getting wide open as a result on Houston’s second possession, which ended in a touchdown run. In the second half, Talib was mostly covering rookie DeAndre Hopkins.

…Field conditions at Reliant Stadium were atrocious, much like the last time New England played here in 2009, when Wes Welker tore up his knee after it got stuck in the sloppy grass.

…Rookie Josh Boyce, often inactive this season, was in the lineup and returning kickoffs. He provided a bit of a spark there in the first half, but also showed up in the passing game with a catch for 6 yards. He followed that up with a nice downfield block on the next play to help Gronk get extra yards after his catch.

…Already without rookie WR Aaron Dobson (foot), the Patriots lost fellow rookie pass catcher Kenbrell Thompkins in the closing minutes of the first quarter. He appeared to injure his right groin while leaping for a catch and coming down awkwardly on the ground. He stayed on the field for one more play before limping off to the sideline, where the medical staff evaluated him for several minutes. Thompkins eventually went to the locker room, but managed to return on the next possession. However, the injury caught up to Thompkins again in the second half and he was unable to play the rest of the way.

…New England’s defense used its 3-DE front, with Chandler Jones at tackle, for the first time in several games, to get pressure on Texans QB Case Keenum. It worked well on a second-quarter hit on Keenum by Ninkovich and Andre Carter that resulted in an errant throw and interception by rookie CB Logan Ryan. They also used their 3-DT, 2-DE look for the first time in a while to help slow down the Houston rushing attack.

…In the second quarter, Brady appeared to lose his communications signal in his helmet. That forced him to go several plays getting the call from the sideline the old-fashioned way – with verbal and hand signals. He then read the play call off his wrist band and called it in the huddle.

James Develin, the hard-nosed fullback, earned the first rushing yards of his NFL career against Houston, including his first touchdown, a spectacular fourth-effort, leg-grinding run on the goal line. He also caught his third career pass, all from Tom Brady.

…Safety Steve Gregory (right thumb) returned to the lineup for the first time since injuring himself against Pittsburgh in Week 9. Gregory started and played most of the first half before yielding to rookie Duron Harmon in the 3rd quarter. Gregory eventually returned to the game in the 4th.

…Cornerback Kyle Arrington was exposed once again while playing on the outside. With Alfonzo Dennard inactive (knee), Arrington, better as a slot guy, was forced to the outside and was beaten badly on a 4th-quarter deep ball to Texans rookie WR DeAndre Hopkins, which resulted two plays later in a Texans go-ahead TD.

…Kicker Stephen Gostkowski was clutch, after barely missing a long-range 55-yard field goal early in the game. He finished in the fourth with a pair of 53-yard kicks that proved the game winners. Gostkowski is having perhaps his best season ever as a pro.

BLOG DISCLAIMER


The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on the PFW Blog represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the New England Patriots organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Patriots officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

Most Popular Media

View Series - Ask PFW Ask the PFW writers a question