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Game Notes: Rob Gronkowski plays in the preseason for the first time since 2012

INDIVIDUAL NOTES  

PATRIOTS AND HOUSTON MEET FOR FIRST TIME IN PRESEASON
The Patriots and Texans met in the preseason for the first time. Houston was the only team New England had never faced in a preseason game.

TOM BRADY MAKES THE START
Tom Brady made his 2017 season debut when he was in the starting lineup. Brady played the first two drives of the game before being relieved in the second quarter by QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Brady finished 6-of-9 for 67 yards and one touchdown, a 22-yarder to RB Rex Burkhead in the second quarter.

GAROPPOLO PLAYED INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER
QB Jimmy Garoppolo played from the second quarter through the first two drives of the fourth quarter and finished 15-of-23 for 145 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

GRONKOWSKI PLAYS IN THE PRESEASON FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2012
TE Rob Gronkowski started at tight end. It was his first action in a preseason game since 2012. It was his first preseason game since seeing action at Tampa Bay on Aug. 24, 2012, in Week 3 of the preseason.

SEVEN VETERANS MAKE THEIR DEBUT IN A PATRIOTS UNIFORM;
FOUR WERE IN THE STARTING LINEUP
Seven veteran players that are new to the Patriots in 2017 saw their first action in a New England uniform and of those players, three were in the starting lineup. RB Rex Burkhead and WR Brandin Cooks started on offense, and CB Stephon Gilmore and DL Lawrence Guy started on defense. TE Dwayne Allen, LB David Harris and TE James O'Shaugnessy played in a reserve role.

CAMERON FLEMING MAKES START AT LEFT TACKLE
Cameron Fleming started at left tackle in place of Nate Solder. Fleming has made 14 overall starts with three at left tackle, six at right tackle and seven at tackle eligible tight end. His last regular season start at left tackle was in the season-opening win at Arizona on Sept. 11, 2016.

ROOKIE FREE AGENT LB HARVEY LANGI MAKES THE START
Rookie free agent Harvey Langi made his second straight preseason start.

BURKHEAD SCORES ON A 22-YARD TD FROM BRADY
RB Rex Burkhead scored on a 22-yard touchdown reception from QB Tom Brady in the second quarter. Burkhead has one touchdown reception in the regular season in his four year NFL career. He scored on a 5-yard touchdown reception vs. Pittsburgh on Dec. 13, 2015, while with Cincinnati. Burkhead finished the game with seven rushing attempts for 20 yards and three receptions for 50 yards.

CYRUS JONES HAS BIG PUNT RETURN
CB Cyrus Jones had a 32-yard punt return in the second quarter that helped position the Patriots for a 38-yard field goal. His longest punt return as a rookie in 2016 was a 23-yard return vs. Houston on Sept. 22.

GOSTKOWSKI HITS FROM 50
K Stephen Gostkowski drilled a 51-yard field goal late in the second quarter. Gostkowski is 19-of-26 (73.1 %) from 50 yards or more in the regular season, the second highest conversion rate in NFL history behind Matt Prater (31-of-40 77.5 %). Overall against Houston, Gostkowski connected on all three of his field goal attempts (38, 51, 42).

D.J. FOSTER HAS SECOND TD OF THE PRESEASON 
RB D.J. Foster scored on a 25-yard touchdown pass from QB Jimmy Garoppolo in the fourth quarter. It was his second touchdown of the preseason. Foster also scored on a 3-yard touchdown run in the preseason opener vs. Jacksonville.

RYAN ALLEN HITS THREE 50-YARD PUNTS
P Ryan Allen had three of his five punts go over 50 yards, with two 54 yarders and a 56-yarder. In the preseason opener against Jacksonville, Allen had had all three of his punts go over 50 yards. 

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