The Texans pulled off their second win in franchise history over the New England Patriots, defeating the defending Super Bowl champions 28-22 on Sunday Night Football. Houston led by as many as 19, scoring 21 unanswered points. Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes in the second half, but was unable to pull off a comeback.
“It was great, it feels great,” receiver DeAndre Hopkins said. “I haven’t beaten those guys since I’ve been here. It’s another football game. Got to turn the page and move onto Denver this coming week. Might have to see those guys again. Who knows. It was great to finally beat those guys in my career.”
Deshaun Watson threw three touchdown passes and caught one from Hopkins in the victory. He completed 18-of-25 for 234 yards and a 140.7 passer rating. Hopkins led the team with 64 yards receiving and completed his one pass for six yards on a trick play that resulted in the score to Watson.
“The timing was right,” head coach Bill O’Brien said. “We got the ball down there on the six-yard line. That’s where we wanted to do it. They executed it pretty well. Wasn’t exactly the look we thought we were going to get and they made it work.”
Houston’s defense sacked Brady three times and had one interception by Bradley Roby in the win. Linebacker Jacob Martin recorded 1.5 sacks, one tackle for loss and three quarterback hits.
Brady completed 24-of-47 for 326 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and an 85.9 passer rating.
“We think we can play with the best of them,” Roby said. “We had a couple of games earlier in the season that we felt like we should have won, but we didn’t. Now it’s just about keep stacking the days, taking it play-by-play and just keep playing to our potential.”
Kai Forbath kicked a 23-yard field goal to give the Patriots a 3-0 lead after their first offensive series, but they wouldn’t score again until the end of the third quarter.
Meanwhile, Houston found the end zone on back-to-back drives in the first half. Roby intercepted Brady at the 28-yard line to give the Texans possession deep in Patriots territory. Three plays later, Watson tossed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Duke Johnson. The Texans took a 7-3 lead after the three-play, 21-yard scoring drive with 0:45 left in the first quarter.
The Texans started their next offensive series at their own 12-yard line. Watson and the offense converted six first downs en route to their second touchdown of the day. Darren Fells caught a 13-yard touchdown pass to cap off a 13-play, 88-yard drive. Houston took a 14-3 advantage with 6:26 left in the second quarter.
Houston’s defense continued to clamp down on New England to start the second half. Roby sacked Brady to end the Patriots’ opening drive of the third quarter.
On the Patriots’ next possession, Johnathan Joseph broke up a pass on fourth down. The Texans took over at their own 42-yard line. Watson then orchestrated a six-play, 58-yard drive. Stills, who extended the drive with a 19-yard catch on third down, capped it off with a 35-yard touchdown catch.
Brady responded with a 12-yard touchdown pass to James White. Forbath missed the extra point attempt. The Patriots trailed 21-9 with 0:11 left in the third quarter.
The Texans offense took over, drove to the New England 6-yard line, and the gadget play was pulled out of the playbook. Watson handed off to Johnson who handed off to Hopkins. Hopkins pitched to Hopkins for the score. Houston led 28-9 with 9:58 left in the game.
White scored his second touchdown of the game on an 11-yard pass from Brady. The Patriots attempted a two-point conversion, but Brady’s pass to Phillip Dorsett was incomplete. The Texans held on to a 28-15 lead with 3:42 left in the game.
Brady and the offense nearly pulled off a comeback, on a six-play, 94-yard scoring drive that took just 1:46 off the clock. The Patriots were within one score after Brady’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman.
Down 28-22 with less than one minute remaining, New England attempted an onside kick but it landed out of bounds and the Texans wrapped up the win in victory formation.
“When you got a guy like Deshaun back there at quarterback that can scramble, still make plays with his arms, it’s hard to defend that,” Hopkins said. “Guys made plays today. Kenny made a play, tight ends made plays. Duke made plays. We feel like we match up against teams man or zone. We just came out and played a great game on offense and defense.”
The Texan improved to 8-4 on the season and will next host the Denver Broncos in Week 14.