ADVERTISEMENT

December 11, 2012

Wes Welker, Quintin Demps
The Associated Press

Wes Walker caught three passes against the Texans, extending his streak to 107 straight games in which he’s had a catch.

Houston, no problem

By BARRY WILNER The Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Look out. That familiar sight is the New England Patriots romping through December, looking like a Super Bowl team.

The Patriots rolled over Houston 42-14 on Monday night, stamping themselves once again as the team to fear in the AFC -- and making the Texans look like pretenders.

Tom Brady threw for four touchdowns and 296 yards as New England manhandled the team with the league's best record. The Patriots (10-3), who already own the AFC East title, won their seventh straight and moved one game behind the Texans (11-2) for the conference's top seed.

A matchup of the top two scoring teams in the league was a mismatch from the outset. It took New England only one possession to start its scoring barrage as the Patriots surpassed their average of 35.8 points per game.

Wes Welker's 31-yard punt return and 25-yard reception -- the 107th straight game he's had a catch -- led to Aaron Hernandez's 7-yard score. That gave Brady 45 consecutive games with a TD pass, third longest in NFL history.

It also set the tone.

Houston, which had won six straight, threatened on its next series, only to have Matt Schaub force a ball into double coverage in the Patriots' end zone. Devin McCourty picked it off and returned it 19 yards, setting up more pinpoint throws by Brady, who finished 21 of 35.

He couldn't miss if he tried, his receivers were so uncovered: Brandon Lloyd for 14 yards, Danny Woodhead for 18, Hernandez for 13, then Lloyd for the 37-yard TD to make it 14-0. Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips could only shake his head in disgust at his players' inability.

It got worse. At the end of a 70-yard drive helped by a 26-yard interference call on Danieal Manning, no Texans were lined up to Brady's left in front of Hernandez. A quick snap, a quicker pass and the tight end waltzed into the end zone.

New England was headed for its 20th successive home win in December, and its 21st straight victory in the second half of the schedule.

Houston was headed home wondering not only how it could measure up to a perennial championship contender in the future, but if it could hold off surging Indianapolis in the AFC South. The Texans have a two-game lead but face the Colts (9-4) Sunday in Houston, then later at Indianapolis.

Although the Texans have clinched at least a wild-card berth, they haven't had a truly convincing win since October. This was a convincing defeat, however -- although they scored in the third quarter on Arian Foster's 1-yard run.

By then the Patriots had their fourth TD, a gorgeous 63-yard throw to Donte' Stallworth, who was re-signed last week to replace injured Julian Edelman. It gave Brady his 18th game with at least four TD passes, moving ahead of Hall of Famer John Unitas for fourth all time.

Brady nearly had a fifth as Woodhead broke free on a screen pass early in the fourth period. J.J. Watt forced a fumble, but the ball soared 11 yards into the end zone, where Lloyd fell on it for a 35-7 lead.

Stevan Ridley made it 42-7 with a 14-yard run. The Texans have allowed 42 points in both losses, the other coming against Green Bay on Oct. 14.



Lestar Jean, Steve Gregory
The Associated Press

Steve Gregory, a strong safety for the Pats, breaks up a pass for Houston’s Lestar Jean in the second quarter Monday night in Foxborough, Mass.

Tom Brady
The Associated Press

Brandon Lloyd celebrates his 37-yard TD catch with quarterback Tom Brady in Monday night’s game at Foxborough, Mass. Brady threw four TD passes as the Pats dominated the Texans, 42-14.



Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


  • Back to Sports

News
Politics
Business
Opinion
Life & Culture
People

© 2014 The Portland Press Herald - All Rights Reserved.
MaineToday Media
One City Center, 5th floor, Portland, ME 04101-5009
(207) 791-6650
contact@pressherald.com