The New England Patriots returned to Houston, Texas the site where just six and half months ago they pulled off the greatest comeback in NFL History overcoming a 28-3 hole to the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51. Of course this time they were there for a preseason game vs the Houston Texans.
Both the Texans and Patriots rolled out their first-team on both sides of the ball to start the game, so Tom Brady and Tom Savage got the starts at QB and had their full supporting cast. So it was the first time Brady got to throw to his shiny new 5’10 fast outside the numbers toy in Brandin Cooks. For the first time since 2012, Rob Gronkowski played in a preseason game getting his first game action since November of last year. Rex Burkhead and James White made their debuts the only first teams not to play were left tackle Nate Solder and running back Mike Gillislee who sat out due to injuries. On the defensive side of the ball, the Patriots showed off their dynamic Cornerback duo in Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gillmore along with the rest of the first teams missing the injured Donta Hightower.
The Patriots stopped the Texans offense on the first drive but were held to a three and out themselves. Coming out of that Savage led his offense right down the field and got the Texans on the board first with a touchdown pass to Jaelen Strong. The Patriots then got points on the two drives when Brady dumped off the Burkhead who took the ball 22 yards to the end-zone for a touchdown, then after another three and out this time against Deshaun Watson at QB. Jimmy Garoppolo took over at QB and got the team into field goal range to give the Patriots a 10-7 lead, Watson then took his team into field goal range to tie the game. Garoppolo then took over at his own 28 yard-line and took his team into field goal range to give his team the lead back after another Stephen Gostkowski field goal. Both teams exchanged punts to start the 2nd half before Garoppolo took the Patriots back into field-goal range and settled for another three points.
A big play happened when the Texans got the ball when a simple Watson dump off turned into a 63-yard catch and run from D’Onta Foreman two plays later Watson scrambled into the end zone and after the extra point the Texans had the lead. On the first place of the next drive, Garoppolo was stripped sacked and the Texans changed QB’s again putting Brendon Weeden and got his team into field goal range making the game 20-16 Texans.
When the Patriots got the ball back Garoppolo hit D.J. Foster on a dump off and just like Burkhead, Foster took it all the way. After another stop from the Patriots defense, Garoppolo threw a horrible interception to Denzel Wright who took it back to the four-yard line one play later Foreman was in the end zone and the Texans had the lead back. The night was done for Garoppolo as Jacoby Brissett took over for the rest of the night. After two straight three and outs, Brissett started to drive the team into range to get the game winning touchdown. However, he was stripped sacked from behind and the game ended there. The Patriots will play the always crucial 3rd preseason game next week in Detriot.
Cameron Vieira is a contributing writer for gmbsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @CamInTaunton,“Like” him on Facebook and add him to your Google network