Sep 23, 2016 3:33 AM
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots improved to 3-0 Thursday night with a 27-0 shutout win over the Houston Texans.
Up until kickoff, it was very uncertain what the team's game plan was for managing what was thought to be a difficult situation, with Tom Brady still serving his four game suspension and with Jimmy Garoppolo high questionable due to a shoulder injury.
However, it didn't take much time to figure out the Pats planned to start Brissett, rely on the running backs for gaining yards, and mixing up the offense with some passing plays. The defense had a similar plan, working to keep Brock Osweiler and his offense from completing long plays.
“I’m so proud of the way our guys competed and just tried to do everything that we asked them to, and they really worked hard at it. I’m just happy for the success they had tonight," said head coach Bill Bellichick during a press conference after the game.
Much of that success can also be attributed to the coaching staff, who carefully had their eyes on all the Texans' formations and had their players adjust accordingly.
After the game, players reinforced the idea that the win was truly a team effort and proved it would take more than two absent quarterbacks to slow them down.
“Offensive line played amazing, the receivers played amazing," said LeGarrette Blount, who scored two of the Patriots' three touchdowns. "It takes…there’s a lot of moving parts to come together for us to be able to pull off a win like this.”
Blount was one of two players who dominated New England's offense, running 105 yards, making it the second consecutive game he's had 100-yard games. His longest run of the night was a 41-yard touchdown run, making it the fifth longest of his career, second longest as a Patriot.
“I want to say I was almost untouched," he said. "I feel like, any other running back in this league you have blocking like that from your offensive line, if you have blocking like that from your receivers, they’re gonna make that same run.”
The other player who drove the offense was rookie Jacoby Brissett, who saw his first NFL start during this match-up. He had a rushing touchdown himself, running 27 yards to find the end zone.
“It was crazy, it was awesome," said Brissett after the game. "Definitely great. You see all the players run up to you. I kind of got a headache from all the head-bopping. It was definitely worth it though.”
After the touchdown, Brissett handed the game ball to Belichick, but both men later said Belichick gave it back.
“I’m glad we have him," Belichick said. "I was just holding the ball for him. That was his ball. That’s his first touchdown ball."
Despite all his success as an individual -- throwing 11/19 for 103 yards -- he praised his teammates, saying their effort is what he was most proud of from the evening.
“Our team, just being a part of the team and coming out and getting the win," Brissett said. "Hard, tough game. The score doesn’t reflect how tough this game was and how hard we fought throughout the whole game.”
The game was demanding on both teams, in all three parts of the game. A majority of possessions saw several third downs, as each team struggled to convert.
In the end, Blount's and Brissett's touchdowns added to a pair of field goals from kicker Stephen Gostkowski sealed the deal, shutting out the Texans. That hasn't been done since December 2003.
The Patriots have a bit of time off and don't play again until Oct. 2 against the Buffalo Bills. That game is to be held at Gillette, and kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.
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