Brissett was filling in for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo, who was starting in place of suspended Tom Brady, and both Garoppolo and Brissett have been able to step in this season as starters and make enough plays to win games.
This is par for the course for Bill Belichick's Patriots. During Belichick's tenure, his quarterbacks are 6-0 in their first career starts.That includes Todd Philcox, Eric Zeier, Tom Brady, Matt Cassel, and then two quarterbacks this season, Garoppolo and Brissett.
His stats from the win aren’t mind-blowing, but Brissett played well. He passed for 103 yards and added 48 yards on the ground. Brissett didn’t have any passing touchdowns, but he also finished with no interceptions.
Rob Gronkowski was active for the game, but he wasn’t much of a factor. Had he been completely healthy, he would have been a quality target for Brissett in his first start in primetime against a good Texans defense.
New England didn’t need to rely on the passing game much, though. With a comfortable lead throughout the game, the Patriots were able to keep things moving on the ground.
The first touchdown of the evening for the Patriots came on a 27-yard Brissett run that was a thing of beauty.
The other two also came on the ground, from LeGarrette Blount, who racked up 105 yards. The Patriots ended up with 185 rushing yards total and three rushing touchdowns.
Against the Patriots, the Texans looked much more like the team that got beat 30-0 by the Chiefs in the playoffs last season as opposed to the team that beat the Chiefs 19-12 last week.
Houston’s offense was stagnant and didn’t even make it past the 50-yard line until late in the third quarter. Brock Osweiler had only 196 yards and no touchdowns with one interception.
Sacks made a difference in this game. Even with a defensive player as dominant as J.J. Watt, the Texans managed to sack Brissett only once in the entire game, and Watt wasn’t the player who did it.
This isn’t unusual for Watt, according to ESPN Stats and Info, as the Patriots are the only team Watt has zero sacks against after playing them at least three times in his career.
The Patriots, on the other hand, managed to land two sacks on Osweiler, and they regularly pressured him. Turnovers were the other factor. The Patriots did not turn the ball over at all, and the Texans gave up two fumbles on kickoff returns, in addition to Osweiler’s interception.
The Patriots look unstoppable with the third-string quarterback filling in for Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. The Texans, on the other hand, looked completely outmatched as they were shut out for the first time since December 2003.