Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 1/13/13
The only time it was close was the opening kick off. But that's why they teach never to give up on a play! Devin McCourty had the play of the game when he chased down Texan Daniel Manning, who nearly returned Stephen Gostkowski's kick to start the game for a touchdown. Instead, McCourty brought him down at the 12 yard line, and the Patriot defense kept the Texans from advancing the ball, forcing a field goal.That was the beginning of the end for the Houston Texans, their 2012 playoff run, and their hope for revenge.The good:Though not perfect, Tom Brady threw for nearly 350 yards, Wes Welker accounted for 131 of those receiving yards, Shane Vereen had 124 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns, and Rob Ninkovich led a surprisingly stingy Patriot defense with an interception of Matt Schaub to frustrate the offensive strategy (and hopes) of the Houston Texans.The bad:Matt Schaub just never could get into a rhythm with his receivers, accomplishing only three good scoring drives, one of those in garbage time after the game was well out of control. It didn't help that the vaunted Houston defense could only muster one sack of Brady and never even got close to intercepting him. Houston did prove one thing today: they were not the best team in the AFC, and they have a way to go before they will compete for that honor.The ugly:Rob Gronkowski is out for the season. Need I say more? Okay... one caveat is that Vereen guy I mentioned earlier. Let's call him the silver lining here. With one of Brady's biggest targets out of the picture, the bench, featuring the likes of Vereen, Bolden, and Hoomanawanui will be key to bringing home the ultimate prize.Oh yeah, and J.J. Watt... spitting on the Patriot logo? Really?!Congratulations to the Patriots for a big win and continued momentum as the Ravens come to town next.
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