Vandermeer's View: Pats prevail but Big One awaits


As Tom Brady took a knee and killed the clock in the Texans' loss to New England the focus quickly shifted to the game of the year – The Colts in Indianapolis.

After all, win or lose against the Patriots, Houston was going to need to beat Indy for its best possible path into the post season.

But that doesn't take the hurt out of a 27-6 loss in a game for which the Texans had high hopes.

The defensive game plan began to pay dividends as the night wore on. It was on the offensive side of things that the Texans had the most trouble.

The running game netted 87 yards but 37 came on one play. They never got clicking on the ground and the later it got, the more one dimensional Houston became, enabling the Patriots to fire into the backfield on their way to a six sack night. Brian Hoyer was knocked out of the game throwing a huge question mark into next week.

Sure New England put up 10 points early. But after the Texans offense couldn't convert on third down, deep in its end late in the first half, the Patriots went to work on a short field and earned a double digit lead, 17-6. It was still a two score game when a Keshawn Martin fumble gave the Texans a golden opportunity in New England territory in the third quarter but Houston turned it over on downs. This offense had been playing much better before Sunday and needs to restore some rhythm at Indy.

The defense caught a break when Legarrette Blount exited the game with a hip injury while on his way to a potentially big night. Brandon Bolden also ran pretty well, however, as the Pats put up a healthy enough 116 rushing yards.  The bright spot was the pass rush heating up in the second half with three sacks including two by Jadeveon Clowney and one by Whitney Mercilus. Every bit of pressure will be needed for the first place showdown in Indianapolis.

It's a tough pill to swallow but it must digest quickly. There's still an AFC South championship on the line and the Texans still control their situation. After all that's happened this season, that's a heck of a silver lining.

Astros 2015 AL Cy Young pitcher Dallas Keuchel was the honorary captain during Sunday night's game against the Patriots.

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