EditorsNote: Clarifies Fuller’s TD taken away after review in graf 6; adds distance on Pats’ 4th-down play in graf 8; other minor edits
Deshaun Watson passed for three touchdowns and added a receiving touchdown as the host Houston Texans defeated the New England Patriots 28-22 on Sunday.
The Texans (8-4) maintained their one-game lead in the AFC South with their first victory over the Patriots (10-2) since Week 17 of the 2009 season. New England had been 10-1 all-time against Houston, including postseason play, with five wins over the previous four seasons.
Watson, who finished 18 of 25 for 234 yards, became the first quarterback to throw two scoring passes against the Patriots this season.
His 14-yard touchdown pass to Duke Johnson with 38 seconds left in the first quarter gave the Texans the lead for good and capped a brief three-play, 21-yard possession that followed a Bradley Roby interception of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Watson added a 13-yard scoring toss to tight end Darren Fells at the 6:21 mark of the second quarter that extended the lead to 14-3.
His 35-yard strike to Kenny Stills with 5:41 left in the third pushed that advantage to 18 points and proved to be the decisive play because it just beat the play clock and came after a touchdown catch by Will Fuller on the preceding snap that was overturned and called incomplete following a review.
The Texans’ relative success against the Patriots’ top-ranked defense proved surprising. That Brady and the New England offense continued to scuffle was no shock.
While Houston surged to a 14-3 halftime lead, Brady completed just 7 of 19 attempts for 82 yards plus the interception in the first half. New England opened the third quarter with two fruitless possessions, with Roby registering a third-down sack of Brady to snuff the initial drive. Brady threw incomplete on fourth-and-1 at the Houston 42-yard line to complete the second possession of the second half.
Even the Patriots’ first touchdown drive proved laborious, requiring 12 plays and taking 5:30 off the third-quarter clock.
James White caught the first of his two touchdown passes, covering 12 yards, to pull the Patriots to within 21-9. But the Texans answered with haste, covering 75 yards over nine plays, capped when Watson caught a 6-yard pitch from DeAndre Hopkins following a double handoff with 9:53 left.
Brady passed for two touchdowns inside the final four minutes, giving the Texans a scare before the subsequent onside kickoff attempt went out of bounds with 50 seconds remaining.
Brady completed 42 of 47 passes for 326 yards. White paired 79 rushing yards with his 98 receiving yards and the two scores.
--Field Level Media