Patriots Vs. Texans First Half Thoughts
As the New England Patriots enter the half of their Divisional round match up with the Houston Texans up 17-13, here are some first half thought:
Quite The Debut- Saying Patriots running back Dion Lewis has made the most of his postseason debut so far would be quite the understatement. The speedy, dual threat back put on a show in the first quarter alone, scoring twice before the first 15 minutes were up. Lewis' first score came on the team's second drive of the game, as he caught a pass from Tom Brady in the left flat and blew past the Houston defense for a 13-yard touchdown. Lewis' second score was even more impressive, as he took his first kick off return 98 yards to the house. On the play, Lewis went clear across the field, catching the ball near the left sideline and cutting across the middle to finish on the right. Only one Texan even stood a chance at stopping Lewis, on the return, and that guy was burned bad by the speedster. Lewis did have a costly fumble on his second kick return, however, which has somewhat dimmed the bright light his play has been so far.
Hurting Themselves- The Pats have hurt themselves so far in this game, turning the ball over twice in the first two quarters of play. The first turnover was Brady's third interception of the season, which was caused by a deflection off the hands of the intended receiver, Michael Floyd. The pass was a bit in front of Floyd, but one that the receiver would most certainly tell you he needs to catch. The second turnover, as mentioned above, came on a kick off return, as Dion Lewis, trying to battle for extra yards after the initial hit, had the ball knocked out of his grasp. Those two turnovers led to 10 points, as Houston had extremely short fields on both series that followed. The Texans only other points of the quarter also came due to a break down by the Pats, as cornerback Eric Rowe was called for a foolish penalty after a third down stop. The penalty gave the Texans a new set of downs and they were able to move the ball down the field a bit to get in field goal range. If the Pats could have played typical Patriot football in the first half, this game would be out of reach.
Not Doing Anything- The Texans have to be happy entering the break down just four points, because they're offense has not done anything of note so far. On 35 first half plays, Houston has gained just 123 yards and managed just 13 points, though they've started multiple series with tremendous field position. Aside from his one misdirection touchdown pass near the goal line, quarterback Brock Osweiler has looked pretty pathetic throwing the ball at times. The New England defense has played well so far, but now they must find a way to create some turnovers.
Biggest Issue- The biggest issue for the Patriot offense so far has been limiting the rush up the middle. The Texans have used edge rusher Whitney Mercilus multiple times in the middle and he has torched New England center David Andrews on a couple of occasions. If the Pats can sure up the blocking and give Brady a little more time in the second half, the offense should be able to get itself going.
One Thing Working- Though the Pats offense has struggled in limited action through the first two quarters, one thing has been working for Brady and company; the deep ball. Brady has completed two passes of 45 yards or more so far and has forced a 30-yard defensive pass interference so far. Look for New England to keep going down the field in the second half, as they've had no trouble doing so thus far.
Figure It Out- The Pats have played a very sloppy game thus far. Expect them to do what they usually do best and figure it out during the halftime break then come out onto the field in the second half with a game plan that attacks Houston and gets the game going the way everyone expected it to, coming in.
Need A Good Drive- The Pats deferred after winning the coin toss and will receive the ball to open the third quarter. They really need a good, strong drive to give themselves some momentum and get things back on track.