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.
Fauria calls the boys to give his take on the game today and why he sees a Patriots victory on the horizon - although he says he's getting more and more nervous as kickoff approaches. He gets into the match-ups, "fire alarm-gate", how the Steelers D will approach the Pats - zone or man, and more.
The boys chat about the importance of the versatility of Dont'a Hightower and his impact on the Pats D throughout his career but especially this season.
Pete, Price and Jerry continue breaking down the AFC Championship and give their thoughts and analysis on Pats/Steelers.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of the 'Dale and Holley Show' talk about Isaiah Thomas' flagrant foul against the Heat, and also discuss why it's time for the Celtics to address their biggest need.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of the "Dale and Holley Show" discuss the latest news on the injury that has kept Isaiah Thomas off the court and how valuable it is for Marcus Smart to stay in control.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of 'The Dale and Holley Show' talk about last night's disappointing finish against the Rockets and they talk about their love for DeMarcus Cousins.
Mut, Rob, and John are talking about some of the Hall of Fame candidates who gained or lost support within the last year. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds both gained support, while Curt Schilling lost a chunk of votes he had gotten last year.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are in after it was announced that Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan 'Pudge' Rodriguez will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. They also talk about some notable candidates who weren't elected this year like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.
Rob Bradford is joined by Jackie Bradley Jr. to discuss race in baseball and in Boston, along with the importance of Martin Luther King Day. The Red Sox outfielder also dives into how he never really felt comfortable in a major league clubhouse until last year, the approach he's taking heading into 2017, and why he's not playing in the World Baseball Classic.
Guys discuss if or when the Bruins will fire Coach Julian
Ken, Rear and Ty get into a very solid week for the B's beating St Louis and the Flyers and losing a hard-fought game against the Predators. Is this team turning things around? Krug and Marchand are kicking things up a notch. The guys also talk about Claude and Sweeney's job security before getting into some big hits around the league this week.
Ken, Rear and Ty talk all things Bruins as they come off a 4-0 shutout win in Florida and head to Carolina later today. Did that victory save Claude's job? The boys get into Don Sweeney's recent comments on Claude's job and what the future holds for the black and gold.
"D-Wood" Joins the show to talk Brady vs. Rodgers and predicts a Patriots-Packers Super Bowl.
Hour 4. Bill Belichick holds his Friday press conference while Mut and Kirk try and play a game. Mut has a big announcement. Gerry calls in from the Inauguration on his crystal-clear cell phone.
Hour 3. Ben Volin shares a stat about Trump that will blow your mind. Mut wouldn't answer any questions about Trump's alleged sexual assaults.
Old Friend Tim Benz joins OMF, and while they regale tales of dysfunction, Benz manages to predict that the Patriots will win Sunday.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian enjoy the festivities ahead of the Inauguration, and give their predictions for Patriots-Steelers in the AFC Championship Game.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian love how Bill Belichick reacts to the plethora of stupid questions he receives from the Media during his Press Conferences.
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe spend the day discussing the AFC Championship.
We close out the work week with the best sound clips of the day.
We check in with hall of famer Michael Irvin to find out what happened to his Dallas Cowboys and look at the remaining playoff match-ups.
Kirk Minihane brings Chad Finn back to the show to talk about the Charlotte Wilder story about the relationship between the Pats and Trump. Chad defends Charlotte for some of the story and her previous articles, Kirk still has problems with what he thinks is lazy reporting. Kirk and Chad also talk about whether a third sports station in Boston would be viable and if Curt Schilling will ever make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Kirk Minihane has a loud and very confrontational argument with media personality John Ziegler about the guilt or innocence of Jerry Sandusky. Kirk believes him to be guilty, John believes beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sandusky is innocent. Yes, it may be an old case, but you all remember it and this episode may change your mind about some of the things you previously thought with regards to Penn State, Jerry Sandusky, and Joe Paterno.
Kirk Minihane wants to sit down with both sports editors at the major newspapers in Boston. Only Boston Herald sports editor Sean Leahy took Kirk up on the invitation to join the show. What you will hear is a great conversation between two people who are very interested in the newspaper business and how that business has changed over the years and what the future holds for newspapers. Kirk and Sean talk about the ongoing and longstanding rivalry between the Herald and Globe.
Uncle Buck, George from S**t Pats Fans Say, and Jerry Thornton talk about the Patriots history in the AFC Championship game, the big wins, the bad losses, and what it will take for the Pats to win another AFC Championship game.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis wrap up the K&C week after a Friday show with Kirk, Mut and Ben Volin in studio.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap the Thursday K&C show featuring Jon Meterparel back in the saddle.
Hour 4. Bill Belichick holds his Friday press conference while Mut and Kirk try and play a game. Mut has a big announcement. Gerry calls in from the Inauguration on his crystal-clear cell phone.More from this show
Hour 1. Gerry is going to Trump's Inauguration. Robert Kraft is still not happy with the NFL.More from this show
Hour 2. Ben Volin joins the show to discuss the Patriots game this weekend.More from this show
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe spend the day discussing the AFC Championship.More from this show
Old Friend Tim Benz joins OMF, and while they regale tales of dysfunction, Benz manages to predict that the Patriots will win Sunday.More from this show