It didn't take long for Tyrann Mathieu to make an impact on the Texans defense.
The veteran safety picked off a Tom Brady pass with 4:25 remaining in the first quarter of Sunday's game at New England. It gave the Texans a 1st-and-10 at the New England 15-yard line.
On 3rd-and-six from the New England 10-yard line, Brady's throw was deflected at the line of scrimmage by Angelo Blackson. Mathieu, who was named a team captain on Friday, stepped in front of James White and brought the pass in for an interception as he was falling to the ground. Even though he came up with that takeaway, and one later in the game, he was disappointed he didn't score a touchdown off either.
"I touched leather, but I didn't touch the end zone," Mathieu said. "And we lost by seven points. So that's how I look at it."
The Texans got a Ka'imi Fairbairn 42-yard field a few plays later, to pull the Texans within a 7-3 margin at 2:33 remaining in the first quarter.
It was the 12th interception of Mathieu's career.
"That's why we brought him here," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "We think he's an instinctive player. He played a good, solid game."
Then in the third quarter, Mathieu scooped up a Rob Gronkowski fumble at midfield. Brady connected with Gronkowski for a 25-yard completion, but Kareem Jackson stripped the ball loose, and Mathieu recovered it. He returned it a yard to the 45. It was the second fumble recovery of his career.
"He's a great player," defensive end J.J. Watt said. "We knew we were getting a great player. A guy who can change games. He did a great job today."
Mathieu finished with five tackles and a pass defensed, in addition to the interception and fumble recovery.
See photos of the Texans arriving for today's game against the Patriots, presented by Palais Royal.