HOUSTON – The Patriots suffered their second loss of the season falling to the Texans by a final score of 28-22. After facing their largest deficit of the season, the Patriots could not put it together offensively to complete the comeback. Here’s what we can take away from Sunday’s performance.
1. James White – After lacking production in the win over the Cowboys, this was a nice bounce back game for the veteran running back. White has seen lots of defensive back coverage this season. In years past, he has been primarily covered by a linebacker. Perhaps this has impacted White’s productivity this season, but today, despite being covered by a defensive back, the White had one of his best games of the season. He rushed for 79 yards on 14 attempts and added 98 yards in the passing game along with two touchdowns. There weren’t many positives to take away from the Patriots’ offensive performance against the Texans, however White’s impact on the game can’t be overstated.
1. Tom Brady – The 42-year-old quarterback looked out of sorts from the get-go on Sunday. He consistently over threw receivers throughout the night. On the Patriots first scoring drive, Brady missed an open Dorsett in the end zone. Later in the first quarter as Brady looked to N’Keal Harry down the left side, his pass was intercepted by Bradley Roby. Brady nearly had another pass intercepted later in the first half as he looked over the middle to Julian Edelman. Nothing looked easy for Brady as he struggled to get on the same page as his receivers. The NBC broadcast showed the quarterback visibly upset with his weapons on the sideline. Brady finished the night 24 of 47.
2. Defense – Heading into Sunday, the Patriots’ defense allowed just four passing touchdowns through 11 games. Tonight, the Patriots defense let the Texans to find the end zone four times through the air. The unit faced its fair share of adversity this week as many of the key players were battling an illness. Still, the defense couldn’t find a way to stop Duke Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, or Kenny Stills.
3. N’Keal Harry – The Brady-Harry connection took a step in the wrong direction tonight as a pass down the left side intended for the rookie was intercepted by Roby. The defensive back undercut the route and made a great play on the ball, but after the 22 yard interception, it was clear the quarterback lost trust in the rookie first round pick. Harry played just 10 snaps after the interception.
4. Health – Center Ted Karras was shook up on a play early in the third quarter. He limped off the field and was tended to in the blue medical tent. Eventually, Karras retreated to the locker room as he was ruled out with a knee injury. After losing Isaiah Wynn and David Andrews early on, the Patriots spent the first half of the season struggling with continuity on the line. With Wynn’s return, it looked like the group could be turning a corner. Depending on the severity of Karras’ knee injury, the offensive line could be left with Ferentz at center.