Texans vs. Patriots 2012: New England earns statement victory

Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots earned an impressive 42-14 victory over the Texans Monday night at Gillette Stadium.

Behind four touchdown passes from quarterback Tom Brady, the New England Patriots earned possibly their most complete victory Monday night in defeating the Houston Texans 42-14 at Gillette Stadium.

Brady finished 21 for 35 with 296 passing yards, linking up with wide receiver Brandon Lloyd for a team-high seven receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown. Running back Stevan Ridley ran for 72 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown.

The win was the Patriots' seventh consecutive and helped make an impressive statement: They're the team to beat in the AFC.

According to the SB Nation blog the Pats Pulpit, Brady and his bunch propelled the team to victory, but, the defense was the most impressive unit.

Of course, the story of this game was the defense. They allowed just seven points to the Texans' starters. Arian Foster? Just 46 yards on 15 carries. Matt Schaub? 19 for 32 and an interception. The Patriots stepped up defensively, against one of the most explosive offenses they've faced all year.

Currently, the Patriots trail the Texans (11-2) in the AFC standings and probably need to win their remaining three games to earn the conference's No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

Overall, it's hard not to feel great about a win like this. But the Patriots don't have any breathing room. Theyneed to win out and have help to win the one seed. And if they slip up, the Broncos and Ravens are still right there in the battle for the two seed.

The Patriots next play Sunday (8:20 p.m. ET on NBC) against the visiting San Francisco 49ers.

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