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Gold Stars, Penalty Flags: Brandin Cooks Breaks Out For Patriots

BOSTON (CBS) — It’s not how you start, it’s all about how you finish.

The Pats finished strong against the Texans on Sunday. The team still has a lot of work to do, but games like this are the battles you need during the regular season. The Patriots offense got a mulligan late in the fourth quarter after doing nothing on their first two drives, and with Tom Brady at the helm, it’s no surprise they took advantage.

Here are your gold stars and penalty flags from Sunday’s victory:

Gold Stars

– Brandin Cooks gets a gold star. A two-touchdown game for Cooks and obviously the biggest catch of his young Patriots career. He finished with five catches for 131 yards, and his big play ability was on full display, averaging over 26 yards a catch.

Cooks’ game-winning touchdown was something special. He got both feet down in a tight spot and held onto the ball all the way through. Welcome to the Patriots “Cookie”! Let’s keep that up.

brady cooks Gold Stars, Penalty Flags: Brandin Cooks Breaks Out For Patriots

Patriots Tom Brady and Brandin Cooks celebrate after connecting for the game-winning touchdown in New England’s comeback win over the Houston Texans. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

– The Pats two minute drill gets a gold star. Situational football is something the Pats pride themselves on, and they had more fourth quarter magic on Sunday. With Brady under center, the Pats did what they do best on those last-minute drives, marching down the field one big play at a time.

Rob Gronkowski fought a handful of Texans defenders to get across the line and move the chains. Danny Amendola caught an out route for 27 yards. We have seen Danny run that route time and time again and every time it’s been successful.

Then there was the final shot, a strike to Cooks in the end zone and the two minute drill ended with a touchdown with time to spare. We’ve seen it all before, but it never gets old.

brandin cooks1 Gold Stars, Penalty Flags: Brandin Cooks Breaks Out For Patriots

Brandon Cooks scores the game-winning touchdown for the Patriots in their 36-30 win over the Texans. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

– Deshaun Watson gets a gold star. The Houston Texans have something in their rookie QB. His poise and competitive level was on display all game. After the contest, the Pats defenders tipped their helmets to the young man. He made tough throws and eluded tackles to keep numerous plays alive.

If Watson stays on track, his future is extremely bright.

Penalty Flags

– The Pats defense gets a penalty flag. New England gave up 417 yards to the Texans, with Houston averaging over six yards per play. The Pats defense finds themselves at the bottom of the league in yards per game and points per game. They needed to find a stopping point.

They are not getting off the field enough on third downs and they are letting up too many big plays. The players keep saying that they are close, but I think everyone needs to see it before we believe that.

– Bill O’Brien gets a penalty flag. Forget about that unneeded challenge that cost his team a timeout, or the timeout he should have taken sooner at the end of the game.

Why did he put the ball in Tom Brady’s hands?? The Texans faced a third-and-1 and instead of running Watson, he calls for a hand off to Lamar Miller. That play got nothing. Then he didn’t go for it on fourth-and-1?

dl bill obrien texans patriots 2017 Gold Stars, Penalty Flags: Brandin Cooks Breaks Out For Patriots

Head coach Bill O’Brien of the Houston Texans looks on during the second half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 24, 2017. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

If the Texans converted, they would have been able to burn more time off the clock. If they didn’t, then the Pats are actually playing for three and counting on Stephen Gostkowski — not Tom Brady. That is a much better option.

Instead, the Texans kicked the field goal, went up by five and had to deal with Tom Brady. We all know the outcome. O’Brien overthought this one, got nervous and lost that game for the Texans.

– Mother Nature gets a penalty flag. It never fails. The season turns to fall, and we get a hot and humid day.  his was one of the hottest regular season games every played at Gillette.

Players were exhausted afterwards and the new turf didn’t help the situation; it was unbelievably hot at field level. The silver in the Pats’ pants looked like a dark blue and everything in the locker room was soaked. The Pats don’t need another hot one like that.

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