The Texans beat New England for the first time since 2009, in large part to a defensive effort that frustrated Tom Brady in the first three quarters.
Brady and Patriots offense rallied on their final three possessions, finding the end zone and trimming what was once a 21-3 advantage to the 28-22 final.
But the first seven New England drives resulted in a field goal, an interception, four straight punts, and a turnover on downs. In the first half, the defense harassed Brady, as he completed just 7-of-19 passes for 82 yards, with an interception and a QB rating of 28.8. After the intermission, Brady and the offense were forced to punt after a 3-and-out, and the ensuing possession saw them get just past midfield, before failing to convert on fourth down.
When the proverbial dust settled, the defense came away with three sacks, and hit Brady a dozen times. Houston also rang up four tackles for loss and eight pass breakups.
Cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who broke up a pair of passes and finished with four tackles, explained the tunnel vision necessary in going against Brady.
“Just keep your poise," Joseph said. "At the end of the day it’s going to be a long game. They may make a play here or there, but at the end of the day, keep your poise, go on to the next play. I think that’s what we did tonight.”
Through the first three quarters, though, safety Justin Reid said defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and company jiggled some things.
"We really had to switch up our defensive scheme to try and give them some new looks," Reid said. "Guys did a heck of a job just being locked in, communicating well the whole game, and executing to get the result that we all wanted."
Reid finished with six tackles, a pass breakup, and a near interception in the second half.
The heroics of his teammates on the other side of the ball, weren't lost on All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
“The defense, it starts with RAC out there calling plays, dialing them up," Hopkins said. "Had a great week of practice. Of course, we're not practicing against Tom Brady, but those guys are communicating all week, studying a lot of film together. To beat a team like that takes a lot of communication. That's what they did today.”
The Texans will regroup and get set for Denver. Kickoff with the Broncos is at noon CT inside NRG Stadium this Sunday.
Houston Texans Fans come out to NRG Stadium for the twelfth game of the 2019 NFL season against the Patriots.