Patriots-Texans Takeaways: Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan Shut Down Top Receivers


The New England Patriots’ secondary reaffirmed itself as one of the top units in the NFL on Thursday night in a 27-0 shutout win over the Houston Texans.

The Patriots’ defense gave up just 175 net passing yards to the Texans, including 21 yards lost via two sacks.

Find out how they did it in this week’s takeaways.

Logan Ryan: 4-7, 56 yards, PBU
Patrick Chung: 4-6, 40 yards
Jonathan Freeny: 2-3, 13 yards
Cyrus Jones: 1-2, 7 yards
Jamie Collins: 2-3, 6 yards, INT
Shea McClellin: 1-1, 6 yards
Devin McCourty: 1-1, 5 yards
Malcolm Butler: 0-4, PBU
Chris Long: 0-1, PBU
Trey Flowers: two PBUs

— Ryan took on Texans No. 1 wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and allowed just 56 yards. Hopkins had five catches for 54 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 and seven catches on 113 yards and a touchdown in Week 2. Ryan did well, especially considering some of Hopkins’ receptions were impossible to defend.

— Rookie wide receiver Will Fuller caught three passes on seven targets for 31 yards, but Butler didn’t give up any of his receptions. Fuller dropped one of the targets in which Butler was in coverage. Butler covered well on the other three incomplete passes.

— The Patriots played a ton of zone coverage against the Texans, so that’s where the other 63 yards comes from.

Chris Long: eight hurries (eight pressures)
Trey Flowers: two QB hits, four hurries (six pressures)
Jabaal Sheard: two sacks, hurry (three pressures)
Shea McClellin: three hurries (three pressures)
Anthony Johnson: QB hit
Vincent Valentine: hurry
Alan Branch: hurry
Malcom Brown: hurry

— Long was in the backfield a ton, and while he didn’t record any sacks, he disrupted Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler. Osweiler went 2 of 6 for 23 yards with a sack and 13-yard scramble on plays in which Long was bringing pressure.

— Flowers got his hand on two balls. If he gets there a split second faster next time, those could be fumbles.

— McClellin and Flowers were more productive than they were in Week 2.

Shaq Mason: sack, two hurries
Joe Thuney: QB hit, hurry
Marcus Cannon: two hurries

— The Patriots’ offensive line was solid against a front seven that features J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus and Benardrick McKinney. Nate Solder and David Andrews didn’t allow pressure. Cannon nearly silenced Watt. We’ll find out more about that matchup in this week’s film review.

— We’ll also see how the offensive line fared in the run game when we review that film Friday.

1. Overthrow deep to Chris Hogan
2. Overthrow short left to Rob Gronkowski
3. Wide deep to Malcolm Mitchell
4. Wide short right to Julian Edelman
5. Pass broken up by Johnathan Joseph short left to Martellus Bennett
6. Overthrow deep left to Hogan
7. Overthrow short right to Edelman
8. Throwaway under pressure

— Of Jacoby Brissett’s eight incompletions, six were inaccurate.

— The passes wide to Mitchell and Edelman hit the receivers in the hands, but we didn’t determine them to be accurate enough to count as drops.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images

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