Patriots-Texans in real time:
8:32 p.m. EDT - Mercifully the game is finally here, it feels like we’ve been waiting for this game for about three weeks.
8:40-After a million commercials and a weird intro by Mick Jagger (that noted NFL fan), Stephen Gostkowski is about to kick off.
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8:42-Illegal formation by Houston’s left tackle-Duane Brown-wipes out a 12-yard run by Arian Foster.
8:42-15-yard run by Foster, so I guess that penalty didn’t matter one bit.
8:43-What the hell? New England’s defense is disorganized so they have to burn a timeout 46 seconds into the contest.
8:45-Great shot of the tailgating scene outside of Gillette tonight, it looked like a tent city.
8:45-Wilfork tackles Foster for a 1-yard loss.
8:46-5-yard run for Foster.
8:47-The immortal Lestar Jean has Matt Schaub’s pass down the sideline go right through his hands, good coverage by Kyle Arrington.
8:48-Great punt return by Wes Welker, he went 31 yards to New England’s 44. Excellent field position for their first drive, Julian who?
8:50-Stevan Ridley runs for 4 yards.
8:50-14-yard run by Ridley.
8:51-4-yard run by Ridley.
8:52-Tom Brady throws an incomplete pass to Matthew Slater (really) on 3rd down but Houston gets called for illegal contact on Welker.
8:53-Sick catch by Welker after a double move. 25 yards, down to the Houston 4.
8:54-Ridley fumbles but Kareem Jackson can’t scoop it up, Aaron Hernandez recovers it for a loss of 3.
8:55-Haha wow, Hernandez 7-yard touchdown catch on the next play. 7-0 Patriots.
8:59-After another touchback, Steve Gregory blitzes but Schaub hits Andre Johnson for 8 yards.
8:59-14-yard gain for Justin Forsett on a swing pass, Jerod Mayo didn’t have the speed to catch up to him.
9:00-13-yard catch for Owen Daniels in the middle of the field. Houston is clearly targeting New England’s slow linebackers.
9:00-Trevor Scott hits Schaub first then Rob Ninkovich takes him down for a 4-yard loss on a sack.
9:01-Jean redeems himself with a 24-yard catch on a free play, Justin Francis was offside on the play.
9:03-And that’s why Devin McCourty is a safety now. He steps in front of Schaub’s pass intended for Kevin Walter at the goalline and intercepts it. He returned it to the Patriots 19.
9:06-Brady gets sandwiched after holding onto the ball for too long on 1st down.
9:06-J.J. Watt crushes Ridley, along with a couple other Texans, for no gain.
9:07-Brandon Lloyd is alive! He makes a big 14-yard catch on 3rd and 10 to keep the drive moving.
9:08-Danny Woodhead breaks free for a 19-yard catch, complete mismatch against a Texans linebacker.
9:08-13-yard catch for Hernandez, Brady is getting everybody involved early in this game.
9:09-Glover Quin was faked out badly as Brady found Lloyd for a 37-yard touchdown on a perfect play action pass. 14-0 Patriots. My advice to the Texans: score on the next drive or at least get a good drive or else it could be a long night.
9:13-15-yard catch for Johnson.
9:14-Dont’a Hightower tackles Foster for a 3-yard loss.
9:15-Ninkovich tackles Foster for a 1-yard gain.
9:16-Schaub gets sacked by Wilfork for a long loss on 3rd down. That was the first play we noticed Chandler Jones, who missed the last two games. Houston punts it to Welker on the last play of the 1st quarter. New England will start on their own 30.
End of 1st quarter: Patriots 14, Texans 0. Well that couldn’t have gone any better for the home team, dare I say this could be a blowout?
9:19-4-yard run for Woodhead.
9:20-3rd and 8 but no problem, Brady finds Hernandez for 11 yards down the middle.
9:21-Watt hits Brady but he got it out to Hernandez, albeit for a 2-yard loss.
9:21-Tough call on Houston, pass interference on a ball that looked uncatchable to Welker. 26-yard gain keeps the drive alive.
9:21-15-yard gain for Welker on a screen.
9:23-12-yard catch to Welker down to the 4. Even better, that makes Jon Gruden say that the Patriots should sign him to a long term deal. Preach Chucky!
9:24-This is getting out of control, Brady with a 4-yard quick screen to Hernandez and he walks in for his second touchdown of the game. 21-0 Patriots, I didn’t see this coming.
9:26-4th touchback by Stephen Gostkowski.
9:27-6-yard swing pass to Foster.
9:28-Kyle Love stops Foster for no gain.
9:29-Wilfork knocks down Schaub’s 3rd down pass, Donnie Jones punts for the 3rd time.
9:32-5-yard catch by Hernandez.
9:33-Brady completed 10 passes in a row until Bradie James blitzes and hits him while he passes. Zoltan Mesko makes his first appearance of the night.
9:36-25-yard catch for Johnson.
9:37-9-yard catch for Johnson, Aqib Talib pushed him out. Gruden noted that he drafted Talib in Tampa Bay.
9:37-5-yard run for Foster.
9:38-9-yard run for Foster.
9:39-Jones knocks down a pass by Schaub as Bill Belichick scribbles furiously on his little piece of paper.
9:40-Wilfork is just beasting guys, 2-yard loss for Forsett who got swallowed up by him.
9:41-7-yard catch by Jean, nice tackle by Alfonzo Dennard. Houston faces 4th and 5 from New England’s 33. It’s the right call, a field goal (which isn’t a given from 50 yards) doesn’t do them much good now.
9:44-Walter drops a catch that he should have made. Not a great throw by Schaub but come on. Also, why wouldn’t Houston go to Johnson, Daniels or Foster there?
9:45-4-yard run for Shane Vereen.
9:46-Pass interference by Hernandez negates a 3rd down catch by Lloyd. Shaky call but the Patriots benefited from one before so no complaints.
9:49-23-yard screen pass to Foster.
9:54-Neutral zone infraction on Scott trims 3rd and 10 down to 3rd and 5 for Houston.
9:55-Schaub looks for Johnson but Talib almost picks it off. Yikes, he’s down afterwards clutching his hip. He walks off under his own power.
9:57-Haha another 4th down and Schaub throws to Walter, incomplete. Mayo knocked Schaub down on a blitz. Pats can add another TD before halftime.
9:59-6-yard catch for Lloyd.
9:59-Quin breaks up a pass intended for Hernandez. Three straight 3-and-outs by the Patriots so the Texans have a slight pulse.
10:01-Dennard knocks away a pass to Johnson, he has been the biggest surprise for the Patriots defense this season.
10:02-Schaub overthrows a wide open Jean, who also didn’t help him much. Gregory crunched him right in the back.
10:03-9-yard run by Foster and that’s it for the 1st half.
Halftime: Patriots lead 21-0. ESPN runs the stat that New England hasn’t lost in 60 home games when they lead at halftime (Dec. 24, 2000 vs. Miami). It is hard to complain about nearly anything, that was about as flawless a 1st half as you could dream about. 3 TD passes for Brady and the defense is playing great, especially Wilfork. Plus, they get the ball to start the 2nd half.
10:17-Incomplete to Welker on the 1st play of the 2nd half.
10:18-9-yard run by Vereen.
10:19-4-yard run by Vereen.
10:19-Watt gets another shot on Brady but he hasn’t had any sacks or passes knocked down.
10:20-Donte’ Stallworth gets turned around and can’t locate his 1st target of the season. 4th punt in a row for New England. The question is can the Texans finally take advantage and score some points?
10:24-Gruden calls Ninkovich his “Gruden Grinder”-the ultimate compliment.
10:25-2-yard loss for Foster after a stop by Brandon Deaderick.
10:25-8-yard catch for Johnson but Dennard tackles him 2 yards short of the 1st down.
10:28-Brady keeps getting hit, that was Watt again.
10:29-11-yard catch by Hernandez.
10:30-There is Welker’s requisite one drop per game.
10:31-And boom goes the dynamite, 63-yard touchdown catch for Stallworth. He was covered, adjusted to the throw, caught it with one hand then broke a few tackles. 28-0 Patriots, this is all over. The Texans are not coming back tonight.
10:35-16-yard catch for Johnson after Houston was backed up on their own 12 to start.
10:36-5-yard catch for Johnson who appears to be Houston’s only receiver.
10:37-Late hit by Mayo on Schaub gives the Texans 15 free yards.
10:38-23-yard run by Ben Tate.
10:38-Haha oh Lestar Jean, offensive pass interference after he pushed Arrington down in the end zone.
10:39-7-yard catch for Foster on a screen pass.
10:40-30-yard catch for James Casey, down to the 2. McCourty flipped him right on his back/head. Ouch.
10:41-Patriots called for 12 men on the field.
10:42-After an incomplete pass (why throw it from the 1, on 1st down?), Foster runs it in untouched. Houston is finally on the board, 28-7 Patriots.
10:47-7-yard catch for Lloyd, nice to see him go over the middle of the field (sort of) and take a hit.
10:47-Nobody blocks Whitney Mercilus and he sacks Brady. Mesko punts it to Houston.
Apparently Josh McDaniels has forgotten that Ridley is on the team and when you run the ball, the clock keeps rolling. The Patriots have abandoned the run while nursing a big lead. Weird.
10:51-8-yard catch for Johnson.
10:51-Mayo blitzes and hit Schaub, Hightower takes down Tate for a 1-yard loss. Great play by the Patriots two linebackers.
10:52-Arrington knocks down the 3rd down pass.
10:53-Great awkward moment for Gruden when Mike Tirico brings up the tuck rule game vs. Oakland, Gruden called it “the worst day of my life.” Good times.
10:54-Illegal contact on Houston.
10:55-9-yard catch for Hernandez.
10:55-4-yard run by Ridley.
10:56-14-yard catch for Lloyd.
10:56-5-yard run by Ridley.
10:58-6-yard run by Brady to close out the 3rd quarter and gain a 1st down. He pumps his first and gives the 1st down sign, no doubt a secret signal to Gisele and newborn Vivian.
End of 3 quarters: Patriots 28, Texans 7. New England’s offense slept for a while after they got up 21-0 but their defense has been superb all the way. It looks like this drive will end in points too. Get out of dodge with no more injuries please, Talib hasn’t returned.
11:01-Haha how to know when things are going your way part 101: Woodhead catches a pass, makes a few guys miss then Watt punches the ball out but it goes into the end zone and right to Lloyd. 35-7 Patriots.
11:05-10-yard run for Tate.
11:06-8-yard run for Tate.
11:07-Hightower stuffs Tate two runs in a row. I’m guessing that Foster is done for the night, can’t say I blame Houston for doing that. No reason to get him hurt in garbage time. Haha Texans punt on 4th and 1, they clearly want to get out of here ASAP.
11:11-6-yard run by Ridley.
11:11-8-yard catch for Lloyd, who has put together maybe his best game of the season.
11:12-Patriots go no-huddle, 4-yard run by Ridley followed by a 9-yard run by him.
11:12-11-yard run by Vereen.
11:13-7-yard run by Vereen. Gruden rightly points out the revival of the Patriots’ running game.
11:14-4-yard run by Ridley as Houston has taken Watt and most of its good defenders out.
11:15-14-yard TD run by Ridley and New England has hung 42 on the supposed best team in the AFC. 42-7 Patriots.
11:20-T.J. Yates time for Houston, Schaub takes a seat after a pretty terrible performance. Hey, Patrick Chung is still on the Patriots!
11:22-Mayo clocks Tate for a 2-yard loss, but seriously why is he in there? Not to be the voice of reason in this latest blowout.
11:23-McCourty takes down Keshawn Martin for a 4-yard loss after Yates just got rid of it.
11:23-5-yard gain for Forsett but the Texans have to punt it away.
11:24-Hallelujah, Ryan Mallett and Brandon Bolden enter the game. 5-yard run for Bolden.
11:25-6-yard run for Bolden.
11:27-Mallett fires one off Visanthe Shiancoe’s arms and Shiloh Keo (great name) intercepts it. Just like the preseason for Mallett, he is awful.
11:28-4-yard run for Forsett.
11:29-19-yard catch by DaVier Posey, down to the 2.
11:32-1-yard TD run by Yates after a timeout. Houston cuts it to 42-14 with two minutes left in regulation. Still plenty of time left, haha.
11:38-Patriots have won their last 20 home games in December, an NFL record.
Final: Patriots 42, Texans 14
Well I guess there is a new best team in the AFC. Another awful Monday Night Football game but I think we’ll take it. Seven wins in a row for the Pats, home-field advantage looks like a real possibility for them with three games left in the regular season. Maybe San Francisco can give them a game on Sunday night?