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Texans fall 36-33 to Patriots

The Houston Texans fell 36-33 on Sunday in a hard-fought loss to the New England Patriots in Foxborough.

Despite five touchdown passes by Tom Brady, the Texans nearly pulled off an upset against Bill Belichick and the Patriots, leading 33-28 lead with 0:29 remaining. But, Brady's final touchdown drive clinched the win for New England.

In his second NFL start, Deshaun Watson threw two touchdown passes while Jadeveon Clowney scored his first career NFL touchdown on a fumble recovery. Ka'imi Fairbairn was a perfect 4-for-4 on field goals for the day.

Watson completed 22-of-33 passes for 301 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, one of which came on the final Hail Mary play to end the game. Watson also rushed for 41 yards on eight carries. DeAndre Hopkins caught a team-high seven passes for 76 yards. Ryan Griffin and Bruce Ellington each snagged touchdown passes.

The Texans defense recorded five sacks, eight quarterback hits, seven tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and had one fumble recovery. Clowney had two sacks, three quarterback hits, four TFLs and one fumble recovery. J.J. Watt had two quarterback hits and three TFLs.

The Patriots took an early 7-0 lead after Brady's five-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski on New England's first possession.

Two drives later, Houston's defense pinned the Patriots deep in their own territory. Jadeveon Clowney was credited with a sack for a loss of nine yards and the Patriots were forced to punt from their own endzone after a three-and-out.

Houston's offense converted the short field into points. The Texans took an early 10-7 lead after Deshaun's Watson threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Ellington. 

Brady added his second touchdown of the day after the Patriots defense picked off Watson. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore intercepted Watson's pass, intended for DeAndre Hopkins and returned it 39 yards. One play later, Chris Hogan scored on a seven-yard touchdown reception to give the Patriots a 14-10 lead with 12:33 left in the second quarter.

The Texans scored ten unanswered points in the second quarter. On the Patriots ensuing possession, Whitney Mercilus recorded a strip-sack on Brady. Clowney recovered the fumble and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown. The Texans took a 20-14 lead.  Brady responded with a 47-yard touchdown pass to Chris Hogan and New England regained its lead, up 21-20 at halftime.

Both teams scored on their first possessions of the second half. 

For the Texans, Watson connected with Ryan Griffin on a 12-yard touchdown pass. Griffin also made a 35-yard catch on 2nd-and-22 to extend the 10-play, 70-yard drive. The Texans trailed 28-27 with 7:16 left in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, D'Onta Foreman's 31-yard catch-and-run put the Texans in field-goal range. Watson escaped several defenders to make the play. Fairbairn's 31-yard kick gave Houston a 30-28 lead with 12:17 left in the game.

The Texans defense did not allow a single first down in the fourth quarter until the Patriots final possession of the game. Brady orchestrated an eight-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a 25-yard touchdown pass to Cooks. The Patriots successfully converted a two-point conversion on a pass attempt to Cooks and took a 36-33 lead.

Houston regained possession with 0:23 left in the game. Watson completed a 21-yard pass to Hopkins and ended the game on a Hail Mary pass in the endzone that was picked off by Duron Harmon.

The Texans fall to 1-2 and return home to NRG Stadium for the next three games. Houston will host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Oct. 1.

The Texans faced the Patriots in Week 3 at Gillette Stadium.

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