FOXBORO -- Tom Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes to Aaron Hernandez and hit Brandon Lloyd and Donte' Stallworth for long TD strikes as the Patriots blew out the Texans, 42-14, in the much-anticipated Monday night showdown at a balmy Gillette Stadium. The Patriots are now 10-3 and keep the inside track for the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs. They are also now just one game behind the 11-2 Texans for the top seed in the AFC, with wins now over Houston and Denver.
It was Brady's 18th career game of at least four touchdown passes, tying Johnny Unitas for fourth-most in NFL history. Brady finished 21-of-35 for 296 yards and four touchdowns. Arian Foster was held to 46 yards on just 15 carries. Lloyd had a big game, catching five passes on seven targets, including a 37-yard TD pass from Brady and recovered a fumble in the end zone for another touchdown as the Patriots won their seventh straight game in convincing fashion.
Wanting to prove a point, the Patriots came out on fire, scoring touchdowns the first three times they had the ball.
After forcing the Texans to punt on the game's first possession, Brady marched the Patriots 56 yards in just seven plays, capped by a Brady 7-yard swing pass to Hernandez in the left flat for an easy touchdown. Just a play earlier, Hernandez made a game-changing save, as he recovered Stevan Ridley's fumble on a run up the middle at the Houston 4. The TD pass extended Brady's streak of TD passes to 45 games, the longest active streak in the NFL.
With the Texans driving for answering score, Matt Schaub threw an ill-advised pass intended for Kevin Walter in the end zone. Devin McCourty read the play perfectly and picked off the pass at the goal line. Starting at the New England 18, Brady took advantage of the momentum and drove the team 82 yards. The drive ended on a play-action fake to the right from the Houston 37, as Brady hit a wide-open Brandon Lloyd in stride at the 10 for Lloyd's fourth touchdown of the season.
After another Houston punt, Brady opened the second quarter by driving the Patriots 70 yards in eight plays, ending on a quick 4-yard pass to Hernandez for a 21-0 lead. The key play on the drive was a 26-yard pass interference call against Danieal Manning on Wes Welker.
The Texans finally showed some life by forcing three punts on New England's next three possessions but couldn't capitalize as two of their drives ended on incomplete passes on fourth down in New England territory. Brady finished the first half 13-of-19 for 165 yards and three TDs for a quarterback rating of 134.9. The only bit of bad news in the first half was a hip injury suffered by Aqib Talib on a pass breakup late in the second quarter. He returned to the Patriots sideline early in the third quarter.
After punting for a fourth straight game to open the third quarter, Brady hit Donte' Stallworth for a 63-yard bomb and Stallworth won a footrace to the end zone for his first TD in a Patriots uniform since 2007, putting the Patriots up, 28-0. Stallworth was signed this week after a season-ending foot injury to Julian Edelman.
The Texans finally responded with an 88-yard drive in seven plays, capped by a 1-yard TD run by Arian Foster but the game was long decided. Symbolic of the night the Patriots had, Brady completed a swing pass to Danny Woodhead, who ran down to the Houston 11. J.J. Watt was trailing the play from behind and punched it out. The ball flew in the air and Lloyd caught it in the end zone for a 35-7 lead with 14:15 left in the game. The Patriots final score of the night came on a 14-yard run up the middle by Ridley, who ran essentially untouched into the end zone.
The Patriots, who last week clinched the AFC East, now have just five days to get ready for their second big December primetime test, the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night at Gillette Stadium. For complete coverage from the team of Chris Price and Mike Petraglia at Gillette Stadium, visit the Patriots page at weei.com/patriots and the blog It Is What It Is.
Greg and Chris talk with Mike Reiss from ESPN Boston in hour 2 of NFL Sunday to discuss a variety of offseason happenings with the Pats and throughout the league. Greg and Chris also get into the NFL Draft and where Mariota and Winston will go.
Mike Reiss calls the guys to talk about the offseason news for the Pats. He talks about the Pats/Jets tampoering fiasco, free agency, where he sees Ridley and Connolly ending up, if the Patriots would be interested in Reggie Wayne and more.
In the first hour of the show, Greg and Chris discuss the news coming out of the owners' meetings this week and rule changes. Belichick's blow-up over the league not wanting to spend on endzone cameras was well documented and the guys react. They also talk about the Jets ridiculous tampering charges, free agents still lingering out there, where Stevan Ridley will land and the RB position in New England. Dickerson and Price briefly discuss the adventures of Tom Brady before being joined by WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia to talk all things Pats in the offseason.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Flannery joins Mut to break down the Isaiah Thomas trade to Boston and what it means for the Celtics this season and in the future. Paul also chats with Mut about the other deals that happened at the NBA's trading deadline
We talk to Chris Mannix from SI to break down the C's acquisition of Isaiah Thomas and the crazy trade deadline in the rest of the NBA.
Joe and Alex talked with the Sox AGM about the state of the team as Opening Day approaches.
Mut, Tomase, and Bradford kick things off talking about Shane Victorino taking offense to people reading into some comments he made about trading for Cole Hamels. They also discuss Blake Swihart and how soon he could be up if Christian Vazquez starts the season on the DL.
Joe Kelly joined the Hot Stove show where he talked about being ready for his next spring training start after a biceps ailment forced him out of his last outing, he talks about his NCAA brackets and how teammate Wade Miley has a perfect bracket still.
Peter Chiarelli joined the Sunday Skate crew to talk about the Bruins playoff push heading into the final handful of games of the regular season. Chiarelli talked about avoiding some of the overly negative feedback he gets while realizing that the team does have real issues. He discusses what went down at the trade deadline and if he was happy with the outcome, Lucic having a down year and underperforming, the salary cap and if he considers it as big of an issue as it's been made out to be and what the future holds for the team.
It's a big hour #2 for the Sunday Skate dudes - they talk about the B's defenseman and what the future looks like at that position, with both moves the team can make and younger guys in the AHL. They also get into the Bruins philosophy on bringing guys up and sending them back down and how players deal with that. Finally, the boys are joined by Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli to discuss EVERYTHING.
The Sunday Skate crew gets the show going discussing the Bruins big, impressive victory over the NY Rangers yesterday. What can you take from that game? According to LB - Lyndon Byers - who called the guys from the road, not a lot. LB drops a dime on what was going on with the Rangers yesterday. DJ and Joe discuss Claude's lines and groupings and the importance of Ryan Spooner. They also get into Lucic, his contributions this year and if he can turn things around.
A caller strongly disagreed with Callahan on Indiana's RFRA law.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys opened the show by discussing the latest news on Boston 2024.
Ryan Spooner joined the show to talk about the B's turning it around as of late, how he lost the fear to make a mistake, the chemistry he's experiencing with the other young players, and more.
Since it's April Fools day, it would make sense to have Christian prank call a friend about his gun ownership.
The picked up an important win last night over the Panthers, keeping ahead of Ottawa for the 8th seed. Andy Brickley called the game last night for NESN and talks about Tuukka's performance and some other items he picked up.
Given the scope of Aaron Hernandez' admitted marijuana use that's come out of this trial, a big debate is "sparked" about how a pro athlete can possibly compete at this level with their lungs and senses impaired to such a degree... or are they impaired at all in the first place? The giant free-for-all hempfest is here.
Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss the Sox and perhaps their biggest hole in this line-up.
We wrap up the day with the best in sound that you may have missed throughout the day.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Mut opens his show talking about the New York Jets filing tampering charges on the Patriots
Mikey, Mut, and Lucy are talking about all things New England sports, the Red Sox spring training, more Darrelle Revis and Jets talk, and some Bruins mixed in.
Kirk Minihane joins the show to talk about the Celtics and their chances in the playoffs and how to continue the rebuild. Michael Holley also challenges Minihane to a game of one on one.
Will Noonan joins Chris in the studio to review Wrestlemania and Raw.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk talk about Kirk's massage and crap all over Sausage.
We listen in on Adam Shefter's deflategate report on NFL Live on ESPN, and discuss when we can expect this whole mess to come to a head.More from this show
The guys discussed the controversial Indiana law.More from this show
With the Wells report seemingly wrapping up (we hope), Tim and Lou got to talking about possible fines and punishments the Patriots must face. It's possible that the Patriots will face a small fine, but should they take that laying down? The conversation brings out a little passion from BOTH sides.More from this show