Patriots 34, Texans 31: The Harder They Fight, the Harder They Fall
What did we learn from the game?
Despite playing well, the Texans lost again. This is a team that is just not ready to win in critical situations. They were up by 10 points in the first half and that lead evaporated in half a quarter. They just do not have the fortitude to win big games -- or small games, for that matter. They are now 2-7 in games decided by less than a touchdown, the worst in that stat in the NFL. No wonder they are also last in record.
What do we never want to see/hear again?
I hate the nickname "Gronk" for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. It sounds like the name of a character from a movie about cavemen. More important, I hate hearing TV announcers use that familiar title when they talk about him. It's annoying.
Key Moment of the Game
In what would essentially be their last opportunity to score down 34-31 in the fourth (they had one last chance, but it was only two plays, neither of which was remotely successful), the Texans ended up in the fourth and long. Before they could run a play, they had to call timeout. It was yet another example of Gary Kubiak's poor clock management. They came out of the timeout on fourth down and Keenum was sacked on an all-out blitz by the Patriots. Not only did they turn the ball over on downs, but they lost any chance of getting the ball back with time on the clock because they had to call that timeout.
Game Balls: Ben Tate
The back-up-turned-starter has had an up-and-down season and was the focal point of some fan anger when he called fans "wishy-washy." But he had three rushing touchdowns and 102 yards in the loss and was still dealing with four cracked ribs. He is probably due a big payday by someone this offseason. His agent should save this game on DVD and send it to all interested parties.
Goat of the Week: The Coaching Staff
As has been the case all year, there were few adjustments made at halftime that were readily apparent on the field. The Patriots emerged from the locker room and ran roughshod over the Texans, ultimately claiming the victory. Whatever adjustments the Texans made, if any, were terribly unsuccessful.
Random thought of the week:
Has there been a team in recent memory that found so many odd and unfortunate ways to lose? From low-scoring poundings to horrid teams to high-scoring barn burners against the league's best, there is always a sense the Texans will find a way to lose, and they certainly didn't disappoint in that department on Sunday.
Next Up: at Jacksonville on Thursday
Don't look now, but the Jags have been on a bit of a roll, going 3-1 in their last four games, including a win over the Texans in Houston last week. If the Texans are going to win a game the rest of the year, this is their best bet, but don't count on it.