Follow all the action from New England’s Thursday night showdown with the Houston Texans:
Final — Patriots 27, Texans 0
The Patriots are 3-0 on season after dominating the Texans on Thursday Night Football. 3-0, with both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett starting games. Tom Brady hasn’t even suited up yet, and they’re 3-0.
Let that sink in.
Brissett did his job tonight, completing 11 of his 19 pass attempts for 103 yards, rushing for a touchdown and 48 yards on his eight carries. When the Pats needed to milk the clock in the second half, they relied on LeGarrette Blount, who finished the night with 105 rushing yards and a pair of scores.
The defense completed their first shutout since Week 17 of the 2012 season. The Texans certainly helped, turning the ball over three times, including twice on special teams.
But all that matters is the Patriots are 3-0 and now have 10 days before taking on the Buffalo Bills. And then Tom Brady comes back.
Things are good in New England right now. Real good.
4th Quarter, 1:04: If you did turn this bad boy off, you missed another ridiculous Ryan Allen punt. And another dumb play by the Texans. Tyler Ervin called for a fair catch at the 4-yard line. Wild.
4th Quarter, 2:00: The Pats are just killing clock now. You’re safe to head to bed, as long as you have the TV tuned to myTV38 for Patriots 5th Quarter or your radio/streaming device set to 98.5 The Sports Hub as you fall asleep.
And if you wake up in the middle of the night, we’ll have plenty on this one on CBSBostonsports.com.
4th Quarter, 3:11: The shutout remains. Osweiler couldn’t hit Fuller (he can’t hit much of anything tonight) and the Texans turn it over on downs again.
4th Quarter, 3:17: The Pats defense really wants the shutout tonight, and haven’t stopped with the hard hits. Jamie Collins and Shea McClellin just delivered a mighty hit on Lamar Miller, who likely can’t wait for this one to be over.
4th Quarter, 6:41: Allen does it again. His latest punt: 47 yards, down to the Houston 4-yard line.
4th Quarter, 6:52: Nothing doing for the Patriots offense, as Blount picked up two yards, lost two yards, and then a short pass to James White got those two yards back.
But at least we get another Ryan Allen punt, right?
4th Quarter, 8:19: Another turnover on downs for Houston, as Osweiler can’t hit Fuller on a deep 4th-and-2 pass.
Trey Flowers was a wall in front of Grimes on 3rd-and-4, sending him to the ground after just a two-yard pickup. Pats will take over at their own 46.
4th Quarter, 11:00 — Patriots 27, Texans 20
That should just about do it folks, as LeGarrette Blount rips off a 41-yard touchdown run. It’s his second score of the night, and he’s up to 102 yards on the ground.
And for good measure, he stopped for a quick pose with the Minutemen behind the end zone.
4th Quarter, 12:19: Jalean Strong makes things worse for his offense, as the receiver was hit with a Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty that sets up a 3rd-and-20 for Houston.
4th Quarter, 13:27: Brock Osweiler is going to feel this one for a week.
Jabaal Sheard put the heavy pressure on him, missed, and then came back to crush the Houston QB. The Texans are now on their own 4-yard line.
4th Quarter, 13:33: That was a gross drive by the New England offense. Brissett went incomplete to Edelman on first down, a weird, triple-option-looking play went nowhere on second down, and Brissett had to throw it away on third down with McKinney coming in his direction. The drive didn’t even erase a minute off the game clock.
Luckily there is Ryan Allen, who delivered a 50-yard punt to the Houston 13. Kid has been booting the crub out of the ball tonight.
4th Quarter, 14:12: Osweiler went looking for Fuller over the middle and nearly found Malcolm Butler instead. It was very similar to that one interception by Butler a few years ago.
The Patriots now take over at their own 36.
4th Quarter, 14:46: Houston didn’t like their formation, or the Patriots defense, and they burned their second timeout of the half.
4th Quarter, 14:46: Jamie Collins destroyed Jonathan Grimes after he caught a short pass from Osweiler, seeing up a 4th-and-4 for Houston. Texans are going for it.
End 3rd Quarter — Patriots 20, Texans 0
Just 15 minutes to go in this one, and the Patriots have a three-score lead over the Texans. Houston will face a 3rd-and-4 at the New England 36 when play resumes.
New England has 227 total yards to Houston’s 201. Brissett has 101 passing yards, completing 10 of his 16 passes, with another 45 yards on the ground. Blount has taken over as the team’s leading rusher with 55 yards on 18 carries.
3rd Quarter, 1:35: The Houston Texans are on the New England side of the field for the first time tonight.
3rd Quarter, 3:27: Nothing doing for the Patriots offense on that drive, as they go 3-and-out rather quickly.
Brissett went deep to Chris Hogan on 2nd down, but overthrew him by just a bit. He’s had a tough time with those deep passes tonight.
But New England got another booming kick by Ryan Allen, this one a 57-yarder that sets the Texans up at their own 20.
3rd Quarter, 4:51: Cyrus Jones will need to work on his grip over the next 10 days. The rookie fumbled, but recovered, the Houston punt, after a 10-yard return to the New England 16.
3rd Quarter, 5:03: Good pressure from the Patriots defense, mainly Chris Long and Anthony Johnson, force Osweiler into a bad throw and the Texans into another 3-and-out.
3rd Quarter, 5:12: Texans are flubbing things up all over the place. Will Fuller just dropped a deep pass from Osweiler that would have had them in New England territory for the first time tonight. Instead it sets up a 2nd-and-10.
3rd Quarter, 5:41 — Patriots 20, Texans 0
The Patriots take advantage of another Houston fumble, with Blount rushing it in from a yard out to put them on top 20-0.
Houston’s offense hasn’t even seen the field yet in the second half. Not a good recipe for success.
“Rogggggggggeeeeerrrrrrr” chants are now raining down from the Gillette fans.
3rd Quarter, 5:46: The Texans are playing like they don’t want to win this one. A.J. Bouye was just flagged for PI, on Bennett again, the third pass interference on the Texans this evening.
3rd Quarter, 5:50: That was close. Brissett went back to Bennett on 2nd-and-goal, and was nearly picked by a diving Johnathan Joseph. Third-and-goal coming up.
3rd Quarter, 6:32: A Quintin Demps PI on Martellus Bennett in the end zone has the Patriots threatening to put another seven on the board.
3rd Quarter, 8:12: Houston’s special teams unit is their own worst enemy tonight. They just fumbled another kickoff, caused by the helmet of Olympian Nate Ebner, setting the Patriots offense up at the Houston 21. Jordan Richards came up with the loose ball for the Patriots.
With 10 days off until their next game, Bill O’Brien should probably have his guys work on holding onto the football.
3rd Quarter,8:19 — Patriots 13, Texans 0
Solid opening drive by the Patriots, but it ends in just three more points off a 25-yard field goal by Gostkowski.
The Patriots ran the ball down Houston’s throats, eating up 6:41 on a 13-play, 71-yard drive. Brissett had a cannon, but doesn’t have the touch just yet, as he couldn’t connect with Edelman in the end zone on a 3rd-and-7 bid. He got a great block from Shaq Mason on the play, who kept J.J. Watt away from his quarterback, affording him the time to go Edelman’s way.
As “Roll With The Changes” blasts over the speakers, Brissett is having his hand checked out on the sidelines.
3rd Quarter, 11:25: Blount just crushed Andre Hal at the end of a 14-yard run. He has 31 rushing yards on this drive, with the Patriots now at the Houston 20.
3rd Quarter, 13:22: Facing a 3rd-and-2, Brissett goes hurry up to keep the Texans off balance and Blount picks up four yards to move the chains.
3rd Quarter, 14:48: First play of the half, Brissett hits Edelman for a 23-yard gain. The Patriots offense is off and running.
Halftime — Patriots 10, Texans 0
That’s the first half, with the Pats holding a 10-0 edge.
Brissett went 5-for-8 for 59 yards, rushing for 41 yards to lead the way for the Patriots. Rookie Malcolm Mitchell is the team’s leading receiver with 27 yards, all on one reception.
Rob Gronkowski has played just 11 of 30 snaps so far, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss. So it’s an easing-back process for Gronk. We’ll see if he does more in the second half.
It was a great first half by the New England defense, holding Houston to 141 total yards. The Texans haven’t even made it into New England territory yet.
A pair of Texans turnovers have been the difference, with the Patriots taking advantage of the kickoff they fumbled away. We had the feeling this was going to be a bit of a rock fight heading in, and that’s essentially what we’ve got here. Should be a fun second half.
2nd Quarter, 00:55: Forget running the ball. With Houston out of timeouts, the Patriots are taking a knee and will head to the locker room with a 10-0 lead.
Perhaps they’re afraid of Houston stealing a touchdown off a turnover?
2nd Quarter, 1:00: The Pats seem OK with running the ball here, with James White picking up seven yards and Edelman picking up another eight on a reverse. Houston has used all their timouts.
2nd Quarter, 1:26: Lamar Miller was stuffed at the line by Jamie Collins and Malcom Brown, forcing Houston to punt it away. No timeout called by the Patriots before the punt, wasting some precious time at the end of the half.
Let’s see if the Pats can do the ole “score before half, score after half” trick. They have a lot of field to cover though, taking over at their own 14.
2nd Quarter, 2:00: Houston picked up three straight first downs (two on Miller runs with a Ryan Griffin 10-yard reception sandwiched in between), but face a 3rd-and-2 at the 50 when we return to action.
2nd Quarter, 4:53: The Patriots picked up a first down on a nice Brissett-Amendola connection for 16 yards, but couldn’t do much after that.
Luckily, Ryan Allen isn’t giving the Texans anything to work with. His 52-yard punt pins them at their own 10-yard line.
2nd Quarter, 8:15: Jones was down by contact, so they moved the ball back to the New England 18. At least Jones doesn’t have a fumble to his name anymore.
2nd Quarter, 8:11: Houston has indeed challenged, waiting until after the commercial break to do so.
So essentially, back to commercials. The NFL wins. The NFL always wins.
2nd Quarter, 8:32: Houston picked up a pair of first downs, but the Pats D holds and forces another Houston punt.
Cyrus Jones fumbled the return, recovered by Barkevious Mingo. We’ll see if Bill O’Brien challenges the call, as it looked like Jones may have been down by contact. New England gained a few yards on the recovery.
2nd Quarter, 10:34: Hopkins just made a great one-handed grab to pick up 12 yards on a 2nd-and-10, which was only one-handed because Logan Ryan was holding his left arm. Hopkins begged for a flag, but that request went unheard.
2nd Quarter, 11:51: Nothing doing for the Patriots on their free possession, as Benardick McKinney gets to Brissett for the sack on 3rd-and-7. He blew right by Shaq Mason on the play.
Ryan Allen’s 36-yard punt sets Houston up at their own 10-yard line.
By the way, that Brissett TD run was the longest by a Patriot QB in 40 years.
2nd Quarter, 13:40: The ball is heading back to Brissett and company, as Jamie Collins picks off Osweiler for his second interception of the season.
It was a horrendous throw by Osweiler, who was going to Hopkins over the middle of the field. How do quarterbacks keep missing Jamie Collins? He’s a big dude!
Pats take over at the Houston 43.
End 1st Quarter — Patriots 10, Texans 0
Good first quarter for the Patriots, who made the Texans pay for a costly turnover on a kickoff return.
1st Quarter, 1:54 — Patriots 10, Texans 0
All those five yards did was pad Brissett’s stats, as he runs for a 27-yard touchdown! It’s the first touchdown of his NFL career. Bill Parcells must be so proud. Andre Hal, who Brissett shook rather easily, probably isn’t very proud at the moment.
Brissett gave the football to Bill Belichick after he made his way to the sidelines. He’ll be getting that one back after the game.
1st Quarter, 2:01: A false start on Marcus Cannon costs New England five yards on first down.
1st Quarter, 2:01: After the challenge, the call is reversed and the Patriots will take over at the Houston 22. What a turn of events, and what a horrible start for the Texans.
1st Quarter, 2:01: The Patriots have challenged a non-fumble on the kickoff. The ball was clearly coming out of Charles James’ hands as he went to the ground, before his knee hit the ground, but the officials ruled him down.
It’s huge for the Patriots, as Duran Harmon jumped on the loose ball to recover for New England.
Foolish play for James, who fielded the kick about halfway into the end zone. He was also flagged for the fair catch interference on Houston’s last punt, so Bill O’Brien will have some words for him after the game for sure.
1st Quarter 2:07 — Patriots 3, Texans 0
We have points, though not as many as the Patriots were hoping for. Stephen Gostkowski boots a 24-yarder to give them a 3-0 advantage.
It was a pretty good 10-play drive put together by the Patriots, covering 74 yards in just under five minutes. It’s a shame they have a three on the scoreboard and not a seven.
1st Quarter, 2:11: Brissett went looking for Gronk in the end zone on 3rd-and-1, but his throw was way too high.
1st Quarter, 2:41: Time will tell if we see Edelman as a QB, but he just gained four yards on a reverse play, setting up a 3rd-and-1 at the Houston 6.
We’ll have to wait though, as Johnathan Joseph is down on the field.
1st Quarter, 3:15: Brissett had no issues with a blitzing Houston defense on 3rd-and-1, finding fellow rookie Malcolm Mitchell for the first and more. Mitchell turned a short grab into a 27-yard gain down to the Houston 15.
1st Quarter, 5:38: Brissett has shown off his arm, and now he shows off his legs. He picked up 13 yards on a first down keeper — New England’s 1st non-penalty first down of the game.
1st Quarter, 5:46: Brissett went deep again on a 3rd-and-5, to no one in particular, but a PI on Jonathan Joseph moves the chains. The 12-yard penalty sets the Pats up at their own 25.
1st Quarter, 6:59: Houston goes ultra-conservative on 3rd-and-8, with a draw play to Miller that only picked up six yards before he was met by a pack of Patriots.
So not challenging that horrendous spot doesn’t come back to hurt the Pats. They’ll take over at their own 20 after Shane Lechler’s punt bounces into the end zone.
1st Quarter, 8:30: Houston picks up 18 yards on a nice play-action pass from Osweiler to Will Fuller. The rookie was wide open in the middle of the field.
1st Quarter, 8:56: Facing a 3rd-and-1, the Texans ran Lamar Miller up the gut. He was met by the defensive line and didn’t go very far, but was awarded the first down. It looks like he came up short, and the Texans called their first timeout, so we’ll see if Belichick goes for the red flag on this one.
1st Quarter, 11:00: A quick three-and-out for Brissett and the Pats on their first possession.
Blount got nothing on first down, but Brissett hit Edelman with a short pass that the receiver/backup QB turned into a six-yard gain. Brissett went deep on his next throw, but had a little too much on it and couldn’t connect with Chris Hogan down field.
Gronk wasn’t on the field for the first play, but was out there on second down. He did not see the field on third down.
Houston will take over at their own 11 after a 52-yard punt by Ryan Allen.
1st Quarter, 12:16: Jabaal Sheard has his first sack of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. He got to Osweiler on a 3rd-and-8, forcing the Texans to punt after the drive started off well for Houston.
Lamar Miller ran by everyone for an 8-yard gain on the first play of the game, but was stuffed by Alan Branch on the next play for a two-yard loss. Osweiler hit Hopkins with a beautiful pass (and catch) along the sidelines for a 14-yard pickup to move the chains, but the drive stalled when Sheard and the defensive line put the pressure on Osweiler.
The Pats featured three safeties on a number of plays on the opening drive, so they’re giving a lot of respect to Houston’s air attack.
Thanks to a fair catch interference penalty on Houston, the Pats will start at their own 31.
Here comes the Brissett-led Patriots offense.
Pregame — 8:21 p.m.: With Vince Wilfork out for the coin toss, the Texans called tails. It failed, and the Patriots defer to the second half.
Pregame — 8:15 p.m.: The Patriots have taken the field, led by quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
Pregame — 7:55: Big Vince Wilfork just received a Wilfork-sized ovation from Patriots fans when he was shown on the big screen during warmups.
Patriots president Jonathan Kraft spoke about the former Patriots nose tackle with Marc Bertrand and Chris Gasper on 98.5 The Sports Hub, and it sounds like Wilfork will take his spot among the Patriots greats whenever he decides to hang up the cleats:
“I love the guy. I can’t wait until we induct him into the Hall, because that’s a foregone conclusion,” Kraft said of Wilfork. “He was the heart and soul of that defense, and the locker room, for a decade.”
Pregame — 7:42: “Last week he was a relief pitcher, tonight he’s the starter.”
That’s what Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had to say about Jacoby Brissett in his pregame interview with Scott Zolak on 98.5 The Sports Hub. He added that Brissett has been focused on the little details since he arrived as a third-round pick in April, which has led to his improvement as a quarterback.
“I’m sure he’ll do well tonight, it’s a great opportunity for him,” said Belichick.
He added Jimmy Garoppolo worked hard in hopes of playing tonight.
As for how much Rob Gronkowski we’ll see tonight, Belichick said “we’ll see how it goes.”
“We’ll be able to use him a little bit, see how effective he is when he gets into the game,” the coach added.
Pregame — 7:35 p.m.: You want Color Rush uniforms — here are the Color Rush uniforms:
Nothing too special. Just different. But fans in attendance certainly like them.
Pregame — 7:00 p.m.: New England’s inactives are out, and Jimmy Garoppolo is officially inactive for this one. So is linebacker Dont’a Hightower, so the defense will be missing a key cog for the second straight week.
However, tight end Rob Gronkowski is active and will make his season debut.
Here are the rest of New England’s inactives:
RB D.J. Foster
G Jonathan Cooper
OL LaAdrian Waddle
CB Eric Rowe
TE A.J. Derby
With Derby inactive, the Pats will have just two quarterbacks (one of which is a wide receiver) against the Texans. Things could get… interesting.
Pregame — 6:30 p.m.: It’s a beautiful night for football at Gillette Stadium, where the 2-0 Patriots will host the 2-0 Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football.
Rookie Jacoby Brissett will get the start for the Patriots in place of the injured Jimmy Garoppolo, the first time a rookie will be under center for the Patriots in the last 354 games (Drew Bledsoe was the last rookie to start a game at quarterback for the Patriots). Garoppolo reportedly won’t dress for tonight’s game, still recovering from the sprain in his AC joint he suffered Sunday against Miami.
That means Julian Edelman will serve as Brissett’s backup, with tight end A.J. Derby the team’s emergency QB. Both played quarterback in college.
The good news for Brissett (and possibly Edelman and Derby) is they’ll likely have tight end Rob Gronkowski in his arsenal, as Patriots owner Robert Kraft strongly hinted to WBZ-TV that No. 87 making his season debut this evening. We’ll no for sure come 7 p.m., when both teams have to release their list of inactive players.
Gronkowski has missed the first two games with a hamstring injury he suffered in New England’s joint practice with the Chicago Bears back in mid-August. Having Gronk back would be a huge boost for the offense, both as a blocker in what should likely be a run-heavy attack, and as a giant body that can catch passes from Brissett.
While much of the focus is on the offense, and who will and won’t be playing, there is a lot of pressure on the New England defense to bounce back in this one following their abysmal second half against the Dolphins on Sunday. Houston is led by quarterback Brock Osweiler, who they gave a four-year, $72 million contract over the offseason, who has a pair of dangerous receivers at his disposal in DeAndre Hopkins and rookie Will Fuller. They also signed running back Lamar Miller to lead the way out of the backfield, so the defense will have their hands full tonight.
We’ll know soon enough if linebacker Dont’a Hightower is back in the mix after missing Sunday’s game with a knee injury.
It’s a Thursday night game, which are never really too pretty, so things could get ugly — and we’re not just referencing those color rush unis the Patriots will be wearing.
Stick with CBSBoston.com throughout the evening for all the updates from Foxboro. You can catch the game on WBZ-TV and 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship stations of the New England Patriots. After the game, stay tuned for three full hours of postgame coverage on the Hub, and switch over to myTV38 for Patriots 5th Quarter.