The New England Patriots defeated the Houston Texans 27-20 in the 2018 regular season opener on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Check below for live updates and instant analysis from the game.
4:13: Deshaun Watson’s Hail Mary attempt falls incomplete at the buzzer. Patriots win the season opener, 27-20.
4:00: Texans finally capitalize on a Patriots turnover, as Riley McCarron muffs the punt return and Watson finds Bruce Ellington in the end zone. Patriots lead 27-20 with 2:08 left in the fourth quarter.
Instant Analysis: The Texans are finally starting to get some pressure on Brady, but it could be too little too late. They were invisible in that department in the first half. — Matt Dolloff
3:35: Gostkowski drills another field goal to put the Patriots up 27-13.
3:25: Patriots lead Texans 24-13 after three quarters. Pats have the ball on their own 48-yard line with a first-and-10 coming up.
3:20: Officially in desperation mode, the Texans drive down the field for 68 yards on 10 plays to finally score their first touchdown of the game. Patriots lead 24-13 with 1:52 left in the third quarter.
Instant Analysis: Phillip Dorsett’s first game as the Patriots’ No. 2 wide receiver couldn’t be going better so far. Six catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. The six catches are a career-high for him in a single game. For at least one week, concerns about the receivers are being calmed. — Matt Dolloff
3:11: Patriots finish off a drive with a field goal for Stephen Gostkowski. They’ve taken a 24-6 lead in the third quarter.
2:57: Rob Gronkowski makes a 29-yard catch over the middle, but fumbles it soon after and the Texans recover. Jeremy Hill appeared to seriously injure his knee on the play.
2:52: Patriots force a punt on the Texans’ opening drive of the third quarter and take over at their own 21-yard line. Kyle Van Noy blew up an end-around to DeAndre Hopkins for a seven-yard loss.
Halftime analysis: The difference in the game so far has been red zone execution. The Patriots took advantage of a turnover while the Texans could not. Houston is kicking field goals. … In addition, the biggest mismatch in the game is coming to fruition, as the Patriots’ pass rush is wreaking havoc on Watson and the Texans. … Promising end-of-half drive for Phillip Dorsett, who caught three straight passes from Brady in the red zone and finishing off the drive with a touchdown. Patriots firmly in control with a 15-point lead at the half. — Matt Dolloff
2:32: Patriots go 78 yards in 1:14, as Brady throws to Phillip Dorsett on three straight plays culminating with a touchdown catch. Patriots lead 21-6 with 14 seconds to go in the half.
2:16: Stephon Gilmore intercepts Deshaun Watson in the end zone, but the Patriots go three-and-out on their ensuing possession. Texans take back over at their own 34-yard line.
2:10: Patriots forced to punt after Brady’s third-down attempt for Chris Hogan is incomplete. Texans take over at their own 34-yard line.
Instant Analysis: Feels like same old Patriots vs. an inferior opponent so far. Patriots scoring touchdowns, Texans kicking field goals. Watson has started to make some plays, but without getting it into the end zone they’ll be pretty useless. — Matt Dolloff
2:02PM: Texans forced to kick another field goal after a third-down incompletion by Watson. Patriots lead 14-6 with 9:01 to go in the second.
1:53: Patriots go 75 yards on 10 plays to score, culminating with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Brady to James White. Patriots lead 14-3 with 12:38 to go in the second.
Instant analysis: The red zone turnovers in the first quarter could very well turn out to be the difference in the game. The Patriots took advantage of Watson’s fumbled snap, and the Texans could not capitalize on Brady’s first interception of the season, which was tipped at the line of scrimmage. The Patriots’ pass rush is coming as advertised so far, while Brady is spreading the ball around well. — Matt Dolloff
1:41: After a third-down sack by Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise, the Texans are forced to kick a field goal. It’s 7-3 Patriots with 2:33 to go in the first quarter.
1:38: Tom Brady’s pass is tipped at the line of scrimmage by the Texans’ Angelo Blackson, and safety Tyrann Mathieu comes up with the interception. Texans take over at the Patriots’ 17-yard line.
1:30: Texans make a couple of big plays, but can’t capitalize as Watson throws incomplete on third-and-6. Patriots take over at their own 6-yard line.
1:21: Patriots forced to punt after Brady’s 3rd-and-3 pass attempt to James White is incomplete. Texans take over at their own 9-yard line.
1:15: Watson targets tight end Ryan Griffin over the middle, but the third-down throw is off and the Texans are forced to punt. Patriots take over at their own 33.
Instant analysis: Interestingly enough, the Patriots started their first possession with three straight runs and it didn’t quite work out. But as Deshaun Watson and the Texans learned quickly, the last thing you want to do is give Tom Brady a short field. Despite a false start penalty, Brady-to-Gronk was nigh unbeatable on the touchdown throw. Solid start all-around for the Pats. — Matt Dolloff
1:08PM: On 3rd-and-12, Tom Brady throws to Rob Gronkowski at the pylon for a 21-yard touchdown. Extra point is good, and it’s an early 7-0 lead for the Patriots.
1:06PM: Patriots recover fumbled snap by Texans QB Deshaun Watson and take over at the 20.
1:05PM: Patriots go three-and-out on first offensive possession to start the game. Three straight running plays, only eight yards gained.
9AM: The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Sunday morning that Rob Gronkowski blocked the Patriots from trading him during the offseason. Gronkowski reportedly informed the team he would rather retire than play for another team.
Sunday Shift: Matt Dolloff takes a closer look at Patriots tight end Jacob Hollister, who has the potential to make a big jump in year two. He also spotlights five players to watch for the Patriots against the Texans, and shares some other thoughts on various topics around the NFL for Week 1.ro
Socci’s Notebook: Bob Socci goes in-depth on the “Art of the Sell” with a perfectly executed screen pass, which the Patriots could use extensively with running back James White in 2018.