And the Texans are going to have nightmares for a while about Tom Brady.
The Patriots scored first, capping off a seven-play, 56-yard drive with a Brady pass to tight end Aaron Hernandez for the seven-yard score. The touchdown came right after running back Stevan Ridley fumbled the ball and Hernandez jumped on it.
With the Texans threatening on the next possession, defensive back Devin McCourty intercepted Matt Schaub's pass in the end zone, running it back to the New England 18-yard line.
The Patriots made the Texans pay on the next drive, going 82 yards on six plays, accentuated by Brady's 37-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Lloyd. New England held a 14-0 advantage with 2:55 remaining in the first quarter.
It wasn't over, though. The Patriots scored their third touchdown in as many drives with 11:01 remaining in the second quarter, as Brady hooked up with Hernandez again with a four-yard pass to help give New England an early 21-0 advantage.
The Texans held the Patriots to three three-and-outs to end the first half, but were unable to score any points during that time.
The Patriots weren't done in the second half, going 74 yards on five plays on their second drive of the third quarter. Brady found Donte Stallworth this time for a 63-yard TD.
Down 28-0, the Texans finally found a groove on offense on the next possession, answering with a seven-play, 88-yard drive ending in a one-yard touchdown run by Arian Foster. It was 28-7, Patriots, with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
But even when running back Danny Woodhead was stripped of the ball by J.J. Watt near the Texans' goal line, Lloyd picked it up in the end zone for another Pats touchdown with 14:26 remaining in the fourth quarter.
It continued from there when Ridley rushed 14 yards for a touchdown to cap off a 10-play, 68-yard drive with 7:28 remaining.
Texans backup quarterback T.J. Yates scored on a keeper after an interception by Patriots backup Ryan Mallett in garbage time, but it was too little, too late.
After McCourty's interception in the first quarter, ESPN analyst and FootballOutsiders.com editor-in-chief Aaron Schatz tweeted:
That was a good example of "why do Devin McCourty's talents work better at safety" right there. Ranging, reading the QB, making a play.— Aaron Schatz (@FO_ASchatz) December 11, 2012
After Brady's touchdown pass to Lloyd, Daniel Gotera of KHOU-TV tweeted:
This is a clinic. Brady, 37-yard pass to Brandon Lloyd. This is looking a lot like Aaron Rodgers back in week 6. 14-0 NE— Daniel Gotera (@DTGoteraKHOU) December 11, 2012
3 TDs in 3 possessions. 21-0 4 minutes into the second quarter. OK. Who kidnapped the Texans and replaced them with the Cardinals?!— Michael Smith (@michaelsmith) December 11, 2012
With Brady's fourth touchdown pass on Monday night, he set yet another record in his illustrious career, as ESPN Stats & Info pointed out:
TD pass to Donte Stallworth gives Tom Brady his 18th career 4-TD game, passing Johnny Unitas for 4th-most all-time.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 11, 2012
After Lloyd fell on Woodhead's fumble in the end zone in the fourth quarter, Mike Herndon of Al.com tweeted:
Everyone with a fantasy team whose opponent has Brandon Lloyd: it just isn't your night— Mike Herndon (@MikeHerndonAMG) December 11, 2012
Player of the Game: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
Is there any doubt who the player of the game is? From the very start, Brady was on cue, hooking up with Hernandez and Lloyd for touchdowns in the first quarter.
Brady finished 21-of-35 for 296 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions.
The Patriots host the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday, while the Texans host Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. The 49ers got back on track against the Miami Dolphins in Week 14 after losing to the St. Louis Rams in overtime. The Colts have won three straight games.
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