|New England Patriots||7||10||3||7||27|
After the first three possessions of the game ended in punts, the Patriots struck first. Midway through the first quarter, Brady hit Gronk for a 45 yard catch-and-run to the Patriots 7. Two plays later, Brady threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to LaFell, but the play was nullified by an illegal formation penalty, pushing the ball back to the 11. Two plays later Brady threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Keyshawn Martin, which counted, and the Patriots led 7-0. The Texans reached the Patriots 20 on their ensuing drive, but were forced to settle for a 38-yard field goal by Nick Novak. The Patriots answered by reaching the Texans 25, but their stiff defense forced the Patriots to settle for a 43-yard field goal by Gostkowski. The Texans responded with a second straight field goal, this one a 45-yarder. After both teams traded punts, the Patriots took advantage of great field position (the Texans 41) and increased their lead to 17-6 with Brady's 1-yard touchdown pass to Gronkowski with just 0:14 seconds left in the half.
The Patriots took the opening kickoff of the second half, and, despite only reaching the Texans 31, Gostkowski was good from 49 yards away, and the Patriots led 20-6. The Patriots forced another punt, but Martin muffed it with recovering at the Patriots 21. However, the Patriots stout defense only allowed 6 yards and the Texans turned the ball over on downs. Early in the fourth quarter, Jabaal Sheard stripped Brian Hoyer with Malcolm Brown recovering at the Texans 7. Three plays later, James White scored on a two-yard touchdown run, putting the game out of reach. The Texans did nothing on their final two drives and the Patriots won the game. With the win, the Patriots improved to 11-2, and they clinched the AFC East title for a seventh straight season after the Giants defeated the Dolphins the following Monday night. Their seventh straight division title tied the Rams franchise for the most consecutive division titles won by one team in NFL history.
Temperature: 72° F
Vegas Line: -3.5
Surface Type: Artificial Turf