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Sunday, 24 September 2017 16:29

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: New England Patriots Defeat Houston Texans 36-33

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INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: New England Patriots Defeat Houston Texans 36-33 Image via AP, Steven Senne

In a week three tilt, the Houston Texans traveled to Gillette Stadium to face the New England Patriots. It was a very competitive game throughout.

In their first home game since week one, the New England Patriots looked to avoid losing back to back home games for the first time since 2008. It took until the last minute for the Patriots to get the score they needed to avoid a second consecutive home loss. In order to avoid the loss, New England needed some of that classic Tom Brady magic.


1. Comeback Kid - At this point in his career, there really isn't much of anything that hasn't been said about Brady. Sunday's victory will only further cement his legacy as the greatest quarterback that has ever lived. While orchestrating his 52nd career come from behind victory, Brady converted a third and 12 with a pass to Rob Gronkowski and a third and 18 with a pass to Danny Amendola. Brady finished the game with 378 passing yards and five touchdown passes.


2. Coming Out Party - Through the first two games of the season, newcomer Brandin Cooks has essentially been a non factor in the Patriots offense. Things changed in a big way on Sunday. Cooks caught two of Brady's five touchdown passes, including the game winner. He also added a two point conversion following the go ahead touchdown catch. With the newfound trust in Cooks, it gives the New England offense another weapon to play with going forward. In the game, Cooks had five catches and 131 yards to go along with this two touchdown catches. 


3. Garbage Time - Danny Amendola has been desrcibed by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as the team's best "garbage" receiver. What McDaniels is saying is that he feels that Amendola is the best receiver on the Patriots roster at making plays in traffic and when they need to be had. No play from Sunday's victory shows that more than his reception to convert a third and 18. With Julian Edelman out for the season, Brady had to find a target to go to when he would typically look for Edelman. Through the two games that he has played, it seems like Amendola is that man.


4. Turnstiles - On Wednesday afternoon it was reported that starting right tackle Marcus Cannon missed practice due to a concussion. That immediately put his status for Sunday in question. When the inactives list came out, Cannon was listed. That thrusted LaAdrian Waddle into the starting lineup and left him to face JJ Watt. With Cannon out, extra attention had to be paid to blocking Watt, That left lanes open for other Texans defenders all afternoon long. Nate Solder, in particular, appeared to be on skates. The health of Cannon and a possible regression from Solder are two big areas to watch going forward.


5. Return Game - Ever since the injuries to Edelman and Cyrus Jones, there have been questions about the punt returners of the Patriots. With Amendola back on the field it appears as though he has taken the reigns back. He had two returns for 53 yards in the game. On top of that, he showed an ability to find cracks in the coverage on his returns.


6. Offensive Defense - Through the first three games, the defense of New England has allowed a putrid 95 points. That is a far cry from one of the league's best scoring defenses last season. Aside from the points, the pass defense appears particularly weak thus far. Although, DeShaun Watson was frequently scrambling in this game which makes passing plays harder to defend. If the Patriots are looking to build things this year, the pass defense certainly has to be addressed going forward.


Extra Point - The health of Dont'a Hightower could be a big question mark going forward. Since leaving the game in week one, he has yet to return. Hightower did resume practicing this week which is a positive. However, with a mobile quarterback, Cam Newton, coming up this week, a healthy Hightower could go a long way in correcting the defense. 

Billy Wyatt

Billy Wyatt is a New England Patriots beat reporter for CLNS Radio. Now covering the Patriots for multiple seasons, Billy is a veteran journalist at CLNSRadio.com A graduate of the University of Hartford with a communications degree, Billy’s prior experience was as a sports writer for the Hartford Informer.You can reach Billy via e-mail at bwyatt_91@yahoo.com. And you can follow him on Twitter @Billy_NFL.