FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP/CBS HOUSTON) — The Houston Texans went into New England to face the Patriots hoping to prove they were a contender for the Super Bowl. They came up short losing 27-0 to the Patriots on Thursday Night Football. All of this despite the Patriots starting a 3rd string rookie quarterback.
“Can’t turn the ball over twice on special teams,” said Bill O’Brien, referring to two fumbled kickoff returns by cornerback Charles James and later running back Tyler Ervin. “Can’t turn the ball over on offense. We didn’t do anything on offense. It was not a good night. Starting with the coaching. Playing. Nothing was good. But it’s early in the season. We turn the page and regroup. But we can’t do those things if we’re going to try to beat a good team.”
“This is hard to take,” said Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler. “But bottom line, New England had a great game plan. They came out. They played a hell of a game. They deserve all the credit in the world, and we’ll bounce back from this one.”
“Give them a ton of credit,” continued O’Brien. “They had a good plan. Their plan was better than our plan. And that sometimes happens in this league.”
Maybe Texans safety Andre Hal thought Jacoby Brissett would run out of bounds at the 5 in the first quarter of his first NFL start.
After all, with Tom Brady suspended and Jimmy Garoppolo injured, the Patriots didn’t have any other quarterbacks on the roster to call upon if the 23-year-old rookie got hurt.
But Brissett, who broke free around the right side on a first-and-15 from the Houston 27, went untouched to the 5 before Hal appeared to have him cornered. Heading for the sideline, Brissett stutter-stepped and let the defender cut in front of him, then slipped through his grasp before diving for the end zone.
As his teammates rushed to celebrate with him, the stadium public address blasted out The Doors: “Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name.”
Brissett went on to complete 11 of 19 passes for 103 yards, and ran for 48 yards on eight carries for the Patriots on Thursday night as they took advantage of three Houston turnovers to beat the Texans 27-0. The 27-yard touchdown run was the longest for a Patriots quarterback since 1976.
“They did a nice job with him,” said O’Brien. “He threw the ball well. He executed the running game well. We knew he had good poise. We studied him in the draft. And he’s a good player.”
“He got the win,” said Osweiler. “Any time you get a win in this league as a quarterback you did some things right. At the end of the game I just went up and I shook his hand and congratulated him on his first win, and told him to enjoy the night. Enjoy this one. It’s a special time getting your first win.”
New England improved to 3-0 without Brady, who has one game remaining on his “Deflategate” suspension.
It was quite an introduction for Brissett, who came on in relief of Garoppolo against Miami on Sunday and four days later became the first rookie quarterback to start for the Patriots since Drew Bledsoe in 1993 — and the first black player to start at QB in franchise history .
It was 15 years minus one day after Bledsoe was knocked out of the game on a hit by Jets linebacker Mo Lewis.
Brady led the Patriots to the Super Bowl title that year — and three more — relinquishing the job only in 2008, when he was injured, and again this year when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell benched him four games for his role in a scheme to use improperly inflated footballs in the 2015 AFC title game.
Bledsoe, who had been the No. 1 overall pick in the 1993 NFL draft, was the last rookie to start a game at quarterback for the Patriots before Brissett took the field on Thursday night, leading the team out of the tunnel before the game and then to a victory during it.
Brissett made his NFL debut in relief of Garoppolo, who was slammed to the turf by Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso on Sunday, a 31-24 Patriots victory. Brissett completed 6 of 9 passes for 92 yards against Miami but it wasn’t clear he would get the start until Garoppolo was on the inactive list when it was released 90 minutes before kickoff.
Coach Bill Belichick decided not to bring in a free agent quarterback to fill out the depth chart , leaving only receiver Julian Edelman, who played QB at Kent State, if something happened to Brissett.
On the other sideline, things did not go as well for Brock Osweiler. He was 24-41 for 196 yards, was sacked twice, and threw an interception.
“I tried forcing the football where the football probably shouldn’t have gone,” said Osweiler. “That was something that we talked about throughout the week . . . I thought I had a window to throw and unfortunately Jamie [Collins] made a heck of a play. And that’s a throw I need to learn from.”
“It looked like on that one he probably tried to force it,” said O’Brien. “He’s just trying to make a play . . . It’s not concerning to me, it’s just something that we have to go into the film room with him and coach him up on what that coverage was, and what the route was, and where we think we should go with the ball next time.”
“Any time an offense struggles with developing a rhythm, struggles with scoring points, I think the first thing you have to examine is the quarterback,” continued Osweiler. “And I’ll take the blame for this one. Anytime a team doesn’t score points, it’s on me.”
O’Brien was asked about the Texans struggles in big games against the league’s top teams at the end of his press conference.
“It’s the third game of the year,” said O’Brien. “You guys have a job to do. I have a job to do. My job is to get this team better. Your job is to write whatever your opinion is of what you see in this team. I’m not trying to tell you what your job is. I’m just telling you what my job is. My job is to go back to work on tomorrow as soon as we get off the plane, figure out what we did wrong, and get it better. And that’s what I’m going to try to do.”
The Texans next play the Titans October 2nd at NRG Stadium.
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