Texans score 21 unanswered to give Patriots second loss

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Dec. 2 (UPI) — The Houston Texans played turnover-free football and scored 21 unanswered points to beat the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football.

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson completed 18 of 25 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns in the 28-22 win Sunday at NRG Stadium in Houston. Patriots star Tom Brady completed 24 of 47 passes for 326 yards, three scores and an interception in the loss. Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins also threw a passing score to Watson during a trick play.

The Texans won the game despite being out-gained 448 total yards to 276 total yards and running for just 52 yards on the ground. New England also edged Houston by nearly 10 minutes in the time of possession battle.

“[The win] was big for us,” Watson told reporters. “It builds our confidence. It builds the momentum for us to continue to try to push on. It just shows us and shows the world that we can play with anybody on any given day if we come out and play.

“For us, we got to continue to keep rolling, continue to find ways to get better, correct the mistakes, keep pushing forward.”

The Patriots (10-2) took a 3-0 lead on the Texans (8-4) on a 23-yard Kai Forbath field goal on their first drive of the game. Brady was intercepted on New England’s next drive, giving the Texans the ball on the Patriots’ 21-yard line. Watson connected with running back Duke Johnson for a 14-yard score three plays later, giving Houston a 7-3 edge.

Watson threw his second touchdown of the game in the second quarter. The Texans star connected with Darren Fells on a 13-yard play for that score, increasing the Houston lead to 11 points 6:26 before halftime.

The Texans completed their run of 21 unanswered points when Watson connected with Kenny Stills for a 35-yard score with 5:49 remaining in the third quarter. The Patriots answered with a 12-play, 105-yard scoring drive. Brady connected with running back James White for a 12-yard score to cap off that long drive.

Hopkins threw a six-yard score to Watson on the Texans’ next drive, pushing the Houston lead to 28-9 with 9:58 remaining in the game. Brady threw touchdown passes to White and Julian Edelman on the Patriots’ next two drives, but New England failed to recover an onside kick in the final seconds, ending the comeback effort.

Hopkins had five catches for 64 yards, in addition to his touchdown toss. Bradley Roby had three tackles, an interception, a sack and a pass defensed for the Texans. Edelman had six catches for 106 yards and a score. White had 22 touches for 177 yards from scrimmage and two scores in the loss.

The Baltimore Ravens jumped ahead of the Patriots in the AFC standings after New England’s loss. The Patriots now sit in second place, while the Texans are third.

“Just got to do a better job,” Brady said. “And tough to get behind and come back and just put ourselves in a pretty deep hole and you can’t do that on the road.”

The Patriots host the Kansas City Chiefs at 4:25 p.m. EST Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The Texans host the Denver Broncos at 1 p.m. Sunday in Houston.

“The Texans did a good job [Sunday] all the way across the board in every area,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “They were just better than we were. I’m proud of the way our guys fought and competed. We’ve just go to coach better, we’ve got to play better. We’ve just got to do better than we did.

“Just wasn’t good enough in any area, and they were the better team. I think that pretty much sums it up.”