Offense sputters as Pats lose grip on No. 1 seed

HOUSTON — The Tom Brady-led New England Patriots offense continued to hunch in Sunday night time’s 28-22 loss to the Houston Texans, a consequence that has knocked New England out of the No. 1 spot within the AFC.

The Baltimore Ravens, at 10-2, transfer into the highest spot within the convention. The Patriots drop to 10-2, however as a result of they misplaced to the Ravens on Nov. Three, they slide to No. 2 with 4 weeks left within the common season.


Whereas now not possessing the highest spot within the AFC, the Patriots have greater issues with their sputtering offense, which confirmed constant indicators of life solely late within the fourth quarter when the Texans appeared to let down.

Brady completed 24-of-47 for 326 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception in opposition to the Texans, however that hardly displays how a lot of a wrestle it was. The decide got here within the first quarter on a slant path to rookie receiver N’Keal Harry at New England’s 28-yard line, with Texans cornerback Bradley Roby making an distinctive play that was a turning level. The Texans shortly turned it right into a landing to go forward 7-Three, and by no means trailed once more.


“Simply execution, simply need to do a greater job. It is robust to get behind and are available again. We put ourselves in a reasonably deep gap and you’ll’t do this on the street,” mentioned Brady, whose Patriots scored 17 and 13 factors of their earlier two video games, each victories. “We did not get the job carried out. A loss is a loss, and be taught from it and attempt to transfer on to subsequent week.”

Coach Invoice Belichick added that the Patriots “weren’t ok in any space.” He famous the Texans’ success on second down in opposition to New England’s often stingy protection, and when requested if there was trigger for concern with the offense, he mentioned, “All of us need to do a greater job.”

Brady was 7-of-19 for 82 yards at halftime.

In response to ESPN Stats & Data analysis, the 36.Eight completion share matched the bottom in a primary half in Brady’s 20-year profession (minimal 15 makes an attempt). He had been 7-of-19 within the first half of two different video games previous to Sunday night time, and the Patriots had rallied from halftime deficits to win each of these video games.

Whereas the Patriots had authored a historic comeback at NRG Stadium — overcoming a 28-Three second-half deficit in opposition to the Atlanta Falcons in Tremendous Bowl LI — the Texans (Eight-Four) ensured that would not occur once more regardless of some anxious moments within the last minutes.

Invoice O’Brien, the previous Patriots offensive coordinator now in his sixth season as Texans head coach, earned his first victory over former boss Belichick, which included some razzle-dazzle as receiver DeAndre Hopkins threw a 6-yard landing cross to quarterback Deshaun Watson within the fourth quarter.

Watson turned simply the fifth participant in NFL historical past to throw three passing touchdowns and have a receiving landing in the identical sport, and the primary since Jim McMahon for the 1985 Chicago Bears, in response to Elias Sports activities Bureau analysis. Nick Foles for Philadelphia Eagles in Tremendous Bowl LII, Frank Ryan for the Los Angeles Rams and Ray Buivid for the Bears have been the opposite gamers to perform the feat.

As for Brady, this wasn’t a sport wherein he was persistently pressured. Even because the Texans constructed their lead into the fourth quarter, Brady had been averaging Three.25 seconds to throw, in response to NFL Subsequent Gen Stats knowledge. Brady, who was emotional on the sideline through the first half as he implored his teammates to lift their stage of play, had not had any video games this season wherein he averaged greater than three seconds to throw.

He tried to discover a silver lining late Sunday night time.

“We’re battling, we’re attempting as arduous as we will, hopefully we will make sufficient performs and be the most effective we will be,” Brady mentioned. “All stays to be seen. You can also make a bunch of predictions and so forth, however that is not what it is about. It is about going on the market and doing it.”

Receiver Julian Edelman echoed an identical message.

“I feel we’ll be all proper. What I did see is a staff that fought to the tip, so you possibly can take that and you’ll construct off that,” he mentioned. “It was ugly on the market a bit bit right here and there. We did not play the best way we wished to. However you bought to tip your hat to Houston. They performed a helluva sport.”

The Patriots return residence to face the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs (Eight-Four) on Sunday, earlier than a street sport on the Cincinnati Bengals (1-11). They end the season with back-to-back residence video games in opposition to the Buffalo Payments (9-Three) and Miami Dolphins (Three-9).

The Ravens go to the Payments, host the New York Jets (Four-Eight), play on the Cleveland Browns (5-7) after which shut the season with a house sport in opposition to the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5).

The Ravens are 10-2 for the primary time of their 24-year existence and are driving an eight-game win streak, which is the longest in franchise historical past and the most effective present one within the NFL.

The Ravens have by no means completed a season as the highest seed. Baltimore was the No. 2 seed in 2006 and 2011.

“We’re 10-2 and we ain’t carried out nothing but,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh advised his gamers within the locker room after Sunday’s 20-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers.

ESPN’s Jamison Hensley contributed to this report.