FOXBORO — No Tom Brady. No Jimmy Garoppolo. Three days to prepare with a rookie quarterback proved to be no problem for the Patriots.

Julian Edelman contributed in both the running and passing game Thursday night against the Texans. (WEEI.com)

Julian Edelman contributed in both the running and passing game Thursday night against the Texans. (WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — No Tom Brady. No Jimmy Garoppolo. Three days to prepare with a rookie quarterback proved to be no problem for the Patriots.

New England blew out the Texans 27-0 on Thursday night to improve to 3-0 and now only have one game left until Tom Brady returns against the Browns in Week 5.

“I’m sure there’s a lot of room for improvement for everyone, but with the circumstance of having the short week and playing a conference team and going out and getting a good team win, it’s satisfying,” wide receiver Julian Edelman said.

Although the Patriots are 3-0, not many expected them to be.

Many had them losing Week 1 in Arizona with Garoppolo making his first NFL start and then many had them losing again on Thursday at home as it was rookie Jacoby Brissett making his first NFL start with just three days to prepare.

Edelman said the team doesn’t think about, or care, what people are saying on the outside.

“We don’t really worry about what nationally we’re supposed to be coming off as,” he said. “What we worry about is just going out and continually improve, get better each and every day, take in what the coaches think the best things to do are and we go out and try and execute them. We’re just going to keep focusing on that and not worry about what other people think.”

The wide receiver caught four passes for 38 yards and also pitched in running the ball on jet sweeps as he had 14 yards on three carries. Edelman is a fan of getting the ball in his hands any way he can.

“I like them a lot,” he said of the jet sweeps. “If it helps the team, you’re going to like them.”

With Garoppolo inactive, Edelman in all likelihood was the backup quarterback, but fortunately for the team he never got into the game under center. It would have been for the first time since his days at Kent State he would have played quarterback.

“It’s the old dusty trail right now. The old dusty trail,” Edelman said of his throwing arm and not getting to play quarterback.

Being in his eighth season, Edelman knows how rare Thursday’s win was where all three phases all had an equal part in the win as the defense didn’t allow a point, the special teams gave the offense great field position and the offense put up 27 points against a solid Texans defense.

“It was very fun,” he said. “Anytime you can go out on a short week and beat a really good football team with a complementary game — offense, defense, special teams making big plays, it’s fun. It’s a fun environment.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable


FOXBORO — Jacoby Brissett had one primary mission heading into the game Thursday night in his first NFL start.

Don’t give the ball to the Texans on turnovers.

He kept his promise and it was one of the big reasons the Patriots blanked the Texans, 27-0, at Gillette Stadium.

So, after his 27-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, he took the ball, ran over to Bill Belichick and gave him the ball as evidence of keeping his promise.

“I was supposed to give him the ball,” Brissett smiled. “Make sure they don’t get it. Make sure we get it. So, I gave it to him.”

Did he eventually get the ball back?

“Yeah, he did,” Brissett acknowledged.

“I think he handled himself great last week, this week, all week, every day,” Belichick said. “He’s done nothing but come in here and work as hard as he possibly can – when we had three quarterbacks – to take his opportunities and learn from the other two guys, when it was him and Jimmy [Garoppolo] and then this week it was pretty much all him.

“He’s just a hard working kid that is really dedicated to doing what’s right for the team and trying to improve on anything that you tell him. He just wants to do what the coach tells him to do. I’m glad we have him. Yeah, I was just holding the ball for him. That’s his ball. That’s his first touchdown ball, so that’ll go up on his trophy [case].”

As for the touchdown run itself?

“It was crazy. It was awesome. I was just running until I got stopped. So, it worked out how we planned it was going to work out. I just had to make one guy miss at the end zone. And the guys up front did a great job and Malcolm [Mitchell] on that side did a great job blocking that guy.”

The guy that missed Brissett at the 2-yard line was corner Johnathan Joseph and Brissett had his first career touchdown on the ground.

Brissett played Thursday night like a guy that wasn’t making his first NFL start as a rookie.

“You know we’re part of a great organization, great team,” Brissett said. “A lot of the veteran players helped out and stepped up and helped me a lot, just giving me confidence. The coaching staff gave me confidence and just everything went from there.”

Brissett finished with eight carries for 48 yards and was 11-of-19 passing for 103 yards in winning his first NFL start.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — How did the Patriots pull it off? Jacoby Brissett manages the perfect game and the defense and special teams play huge in the Patriots 27–0 win over the Texans in Thursday night football. WEEI’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price have your recap from Foxboro.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski made his 2016 debut Thursday night against the Texans after missing the first two games of the season with a hamstring injury suffered Aug. 15 against the Bears in a joint practice.

Rob Gronkowski played just 12 snaps on Sunday, but was happy to get the win. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Rob Gronkowski played just 12 snaps on Sunday, but was happy to get the win. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski made his 2016 debut Thursday night against the Texans after missing the first two games of the season with a hamstring injury suffered Aug. 15 against the Bears in a joint practice.

It wasn’t the debut he may have imagined, as he didn’t catch a pass on just one target and played 12 of the 59 offensive plays, including only three in the second half, but that didn’t matter as he was just happy to get back out on the field and get a win.

“I was definitely limited, obviously. But, it’s all good,” Gronkowski said. “Just talking to everyone — coaches, myself, the training room. It was just what we thought was just right. We got the win. We’re 3-0, which is amazing. I got to get my feet wet, which felt great just to go out there. I blocked the whole time, but it feels great just playing football again.”

Led by rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett, the Patriots were able to blowout the Texans, 27-0. In his first NFL start, Brissett went 11-for-19 with 103 yards, while rushing for 48 yards on eight carries.

“Super hyped. Super happy for the whole team, especially for Jacoby coming in just a rookie starting,” Gronkowski said. “You have to give hats off to our defense. The way they played, the turnovers, everything. Just unbelievable.”

It was a total team effort in the win as all three phases contributed in picking up the third win of the season and being 3-0, despite not having Tom Brady and even Jimmy Garoppolo Thursday night.

“It was just a great overall team win,” Gronkowski said. “Just unbelievable aspects in the defense, special teams, offense running the ball. Everyone just did their job and did what they needed to do.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Patriots shut out the Texans, 27-0, at Gillette Stadium Thursday night to improve to 3-0 on the season. Check out some photos from the game here.

For a complete recap of the game, click here.

LeGarrette Blount celebrates one of his two touchdowns Thursday night. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

LeGarrette Blount celebrates one of his two touchdowns Thursday night. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Blog Author: 
WEEI

FOXBORO – The Patriots defense and special teams made things real simple for Jacoby Brissett in his first NFL start.

Sep 22, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) rushes for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Jacoby Brissett (7) rushes for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Texans at Gillette Stadium. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO – The Patriots defense and special teams made things real simple for Jacoby Brissett in his first NFL start.

Special teams forced a pair of turnovers on kickoffs and Brissett ran for a 27-yard touchdown as the Patriots blanked the Texans, 27-0, Thursday night at Gillette Stadium. It was New England’s first shutout since a 28-0 win over the Dolphins in the season finale on Dec. 30, 2012.

Brissett finished 11-of-19 for 103 yards passing while rushing eight times for 48 yards, including his touchdown.

LeGarrette Blount chipped in with his second straight 100-yard game, gaining 105 yards on 24 carries, including a game-sealing 41-yard run to the end zone with 11:00 left in the fourth.

The Patriots mastered the art of field position all night, thanks in large part to the efforts of Ryan Allen. The punter averaged 47.6 yards on seven punts and pinned the Texans inside their 15 six times. The last time was an end-over-end beauty that was downed at the Patriots 4.

The Texans didn’t get into Patriots territory until 1:25 left in the third quarter on a short pass from Brock Osweiler to Lamar Miller that put the ball at the New England 46.

The Texans didn’t run a single play in Patriots territory in the first half. They appeared ready to finally get there when the Texans finally reached midfield at the two minute warning. But on third-and-2 at the 50, Lamar Miller was stopped for no gain and the Patriots continued the defensive streak.

The biggest turning point of the first half was a Charles James fumble on a Stephen Gostkowski kickoff with 2:01 left in the first quarter. On the kick, the Patriots showed their traditional outstanding special teams skills. Clay Harbor went low to tackle and Brandon Bolden punched the ball loose at the Texans 18. The ball came out to the 22 where it was recovered by Duron Harmon.

After a false start by Marcus Cannon, Brissett ran designed bootleg around the right side. There was no one home for the Texans defense and Brissett ran 27 yards to paydirt and his first career touchdown. On the play, which was perfectly timed, J.J. Watt shot the “A-gap” and looked to have a clear path to the quarterback. But by the time Watt was in the backfield, Brissett was gone.

Brissett finished the first half completing 5-of-8 passes for 59 yards, with his longest completion coming on a 27-yard pitch-and-catch to fellow rookie Malcolm Mitchell, a play that featured horrific tackling from the Texans. The play set up the Patriots for a 24-yard field goal that gave the Patriots a 3-0 lead.

Rob Gronkowski was used conservatively to start the game, playing roughly every other offensive snap. He was targeted in the red zone by Brissett on the play before the field goal. Brissett dropped back but airmailed a pass to the left corner out of Gronkowski’s reach. It was the only time Gronkowski was targeted in the first half.

Closing Time note

The Patriots won their 7th straight Thursday game and now 11-5 on Thursdays.

The Patriots opened the second half with an impressive drive, marching down the field 13 plays and going 71 yards, capped off by a 25-yard field goal from Gostkowski that put the Patriots up, 13-0. The most impressive aspect of the drive was that it took 6 minutes, 41 seconds off the clock. Brissett made a 7-yard laser pass on a sideline out to Danny Amendola on third-and-4 down to the Houston 11. Brissett appeared to have his first touchdown pass but Julian Edelman dropped it in the back of the end zone and the Patriots had to settle for the field goal.

For the second time in the game, the Texans fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Nate Ebner caused the fumble, drilling Tyler Ervin at the Texans 20. Jordan Richards recovered at the Texans 21. The Patriots got lots of help from the officials and the Texans DBs on the drive. Quintin Demps and A.J. Bouye both committed defensive pass interference in the end zone, giving the Patriots six chances inside the seven. The drive was finally capped off when Blount ran it in off left guard for the score and a 20-0 lead.

The Texans finally got the ball for a snap in the second half with 5:36 left in the third. They couldn’t do much with it. Will Fuller dropped a pass at the Patriots 40 that would’ve put the Texans in Patriots territory for the first time.

One of the only negatives to come from Thursday’s game was the fumbling of rookie punt returner Cyrus Jones. He fumbled a kick when he was running to his right at the Patriots 17. The ball was recovered by Barkevious Mingo at the 25 but Bill O’Brien challenged and Jones was ruled down by contact.

Jones did fumble another punt late in the third quarter at his own 16, and he recovered it.

On the drive the Texans finally reached Patriots territory, Malcolm Butler broke up a pass intended for Will Fuller on 4th-and-4 at the Patriots 36, giving the Patriots a chance to eat up more clock.

The Patriots earned a weekend off and a chance to heal up for the Bills on Oct. 2 at Gillette Stadium. That game will conclude a three-game homestand before the Patriots head to Cleveland Oct. 9 and Tom Brady’s return.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

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.

Jacoby Brissett has followed the game plan to a T, leaning on some of his more dependable offensive options while going 10-for-16 for 101 yards over the first three quarters. Brissett also had six carries for 45 yards and a touchdown. (That came when he scampered for a 27-yard score back in the first half.) Meanwhile, LeGarrette Blount has 18 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown.

On the other side of the ball, Brock Osweiler and the Houston offense hasn’t found any sort of traction at all. The Texans ran their first play in New England territory all night until there was roughly a minute left in the third quarter, and the quarterback — who signed a four-year, $72 million deal with Houston in the offseason — is 16-for-25 for 157 yards and an interception.

After a scoreless second quarter, the Patriots went back to work at the start of the third with one slow and steady drive that ended with a 25-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski (his second of the night) to make it 13-0 and a much faster one that finished with a 1-yard run from Blount to make it 20-0 with just over five minutes left in the quarter.

The stars of the quarter? Blount, who continues to bulldoze his way for quality yards, as well as Julian Edelman, who just missed a pass in the end zone but has chipped in with four catches for 38 yards.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price