The Houston Texans came into Week 11 with one of the NFL’s worst run defenses. The Patriots headed into Sunday with one of the league’s best rushing attacks.
It might surprise you that New England dropped back to pass 42 times and ran the ball just 24 times Sunday. Now that you know that, it might not be shocking that the Patriots lost to the Texans 27-20 in their Week 11 matchup at NRG Stadium.
What was most odd is that Patriots starting running back Damien Harris carried the ball five times for 25 yards and a touchdown as New England’s offense looked unstoppable on their opening drive. Harris carried the ball twice for 11 yards on the Patriots’ next series. He had just four carries the rest of the way and finished the game with 11 rushing attempts for 43 yards with the score.
Harris did come into the game with chest and ankle injuries. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked after the game if those ailments led to Harris’ lack of usage.
“No, I don’t think so,” Belichick said.
Rex Burkhead, who left the game with what appeared to be a severe knee injury early in the third quarter, carried the ball four times for 7 yards. Running back James White had five rushing attempts for 19 yards and quarterback Cam Newton had three designed runs for 6 yards.
The Patriots didn’t trail until late in the second quarter. They received the ball to start the second half, so it’s not as if they were forced to go away from running the ball. They just stopped.
Three of New England’s drives started with incomplete passes by Newton, forcing the visitors into second-and-long situations. The path to beating the Texans seemed to be on the ground, but the Patriots zagged when everyone expected them to zig. It wound up biting New England in its loss, and the Patriots dropped to 4-6 on the season.