FOXBORO — One half is done, and the Patriots hold a 10-0 lead on the Texans.

Jacoby Brissett is 5-for-8 for 59 yards to go along with three carries for 43 yards and a 27-yard touchdown run. On the other side of the ball, Brock Osweiler is 10-for-16 for 100 yards and one interception (Jamie Collins).

After the Patriots jumped to a 10-0 lead after one quarter, neither team could get any offensive traction in the second quarter.

While Houston has had some success moving the ball over the course of the first half, the New England defense has gotten off the field when needed, a sizable feat given the fact that the Patriots were without defensive centerpiece Dont’a Hightower. The Texans reached midfield for the first time with two minutes left in the first half.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — The Patriots are in charge after three quarters, as they hold a 20-0 lead on a hapless Houston team here at Gillette Stadium.

FOXBORO — One quarter is in the books here at Gillette Stadium, and the Patriots hold a 10-0 lead on Houston. Jacoby Brissett got the start for the Patriots and was 4-for-6 for 43 yards and two carries for 40 yards, including one that went for a touchdown.

The Texans couldn’t do anything with their first drive of the night, with the series coming to an end following a Jabaal Sheard sack of Brock Osweiler on third down. The Patriots picked up the ball at their own 31, but ended up posting a three-and-out. The highlight? Simply seeing Rob Gronkowski in pads — it was 242 days since he was last on the field. Gronkowski was on the field for just about every other snap over the course of the first quarter.

On their next-to-last drive of the quarter, the Patriots were able to get down into the red zone, but a pass for Gronkowski in the end zone on 3rd and one came up short, and the Patriots had to settle for three. The drive took 10 plays, went 74 yards and took 4:52. Not bad — especially when Brissett took off on a designed run for 13 yards — but the fact that they came up short of the end zone likely left Bill Belichick upset.

The Patriots got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff when Brandon Bolden delivered a hammer of a tackle and Duron Harmon stopped of the ball, giving New England the ball at the Houston 32. Brissett then ripped off a 27-yard touchdown run, sending he New England sideline into orbit and giving the Patriots a 10-0 lead with just over two minutes left in the quarter.

One of the things that was really noticeable was the fact that the Patriots’ offense had someone in motion on almost every play. New England does a lot of pre-snap motion anyway — it helps diagnose man coverage against zone — but while some of it is taking advantage of personnel and matchups, there’s a sizable part of it that’s designed to help a young quarterback read defenses.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — As Patriots president Jonathan Kraft was doing his pregame radio interview on the team’s network, a big ovation broke out in the middle.

Jonathan Kraft

Jonathan Kraft

FOXBORO — As Patriots president Jonathan Kraft was doing his pregame radio interview on the team’s network, a big ovation broke out in the middle.

The crowd was paying tribute to Vince Wilfork, who was being shown on the video board in his Texans uniform, getting ready for the game. It will be the second time Wilfork has faced Belichick’s Patriots but the first time Wilfork has returned to Foxboro since leaving after the 2014 season and signing a two-year, $9 million deal.

“They should [applaud] and if we weren’t all talking, I would’ve been applauding, too,” Kraft said. “I love the guy. To me, he’ll always be a Patriot. I can’t wait till we induct him into the [Patriots] Hall because I think that’s probably a foregone conclusion. He was the heart and soul of not just the defense but that locker room for a number of years. He and Bianca were both [great]. They were everything you could want in a football player and his family, on and off the field. It’s amazing to watch what he does at his age. He’s still playing really good football.”

The tribute continued during the game, as with 12:16 left in the first quarter, Wilfork took the field for the first time with the Texans defense. A highlight video was shown and at the end of the 30-second video, Wilfork waved his hand to the crowd in appreciation.

As for when he knew about Jimmy Garoppolo not dressing for the game or when he might be ready to return, Kraft played it coy.

“I don’t know exactly. I guess earlier [Thursday],” Kraft said. “It wasn’t two days ago but to be fair, I wasn’t asking the question two days ago. Earlier today, I asked the question.”

How long might Garoppolo be out?

“We’re going to let you ask Bill that question,” Kraft said. “I might or I might now but I’m going to let you ask Bill that question.”

Kraft expressed his support for Jacoby Brissett.

“I think Jacoby has been at every practice since training camp started,” Kraft said. “All of our practices are for getting a player geared up to getting on the field. He’s taking the reps. He knows the system. He’s a great athlete but he’s a great athlete that understands using his intellect and how to use it. He’s been soaking it up since Day 1. He’s not along for the ride.”

Kraft on the color rush uniforms: “We don’t want to become college football in the NFL but the league decided in partnership with Nike to go with solid colors. Seeing these out here and in person, the Pro Shop, we bought a year’s worth, and we’re two-thirds of way though. My daughter said, ‘Ugh.’ My sons texted me and they like it.”

Kraft on the quality of Thursday night games: “On a week when you’re playing on Thursday night, you don’t even practice, have a couple of walkthrough. It’s all about the classroom. If you were to sign another quarterback, you have to cut a player on your 53-man roster that you like. We like the 53 men on this team, the 46 that are dressing. It’s football and we feel this gives the best chance to win to win the football game. This is about being mentally tough. Short-week games are the way to go out and prove that.”

Kraft on the return of Rob Gronkowski: “Anytime you can see Rob on the field, you’ve got to get excited. He was ready for 8:25. It’s going to be great to see him out on the field tonight. It’s great there’s that much attention paid to it because people really care. We get it but there’s not a science to it. Ultimately, the bottom line is a guy’s going to come back when it’s right for him to come back. Tonight is the right time for Rob to come back.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — The following Patriots players are inactive against the Texans Thursday night: quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, tight end A.J.

Dont'a Hightower

Dont’a Hightower

FOXBORO — The following Patriots players are inactive against the Texans Thursday night: quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, tight end A.J. Derby, cornerback Eric Rowe, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle, running back D.J Foster and offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper.

Gronkowski will make his season debut after missing the first two games with a hamstring injury, while Hightower will miss his second straight game with a knee injury.

With Garoppolo inactive, Julian Edelman will be the backup quarterback.

Foster and Derby will miss their second game of the season, while Rowe and Cooper haven’t played in a game yet this season.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — It appears Rob Gronkowski will make his 2016 debut Thursday night.

Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski

FOXBORO — It appears Rob Gronkowski will make his 2016 debut Thursday night.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the tight end will be active against the Texans. He missed the previous two games with a hamstring injury suffered on Aug. 15 in a joint practice against the Bears.

“I’m feeling better every single day that goes on, every single week,” Gronkowski said Tuesday. “That’s all I can ask for. Obviously, you just don’t wake up 100 percent. I’m improving every day. I am satisfied with the improvements and every day I’m getting better.”

It would seem likely having not played yet this season that he will be on a snap count, but nonetheless he’ll be a good target for rookie Jacoby Brissett, who will likely get the start.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO  –  At least the weather is expected to be crystal clear as the Patriots host the Texans at Gillette Stadium to open Week 3 of the NFL season.