That's how long it took him to run 93 yards for a touchdown on the play
after the Houston Texans' only touchdown. New England went on to a 40-7 victory one week after a 21-0 loss at
"It was the antithesis of last week," said Tom Brady, who threw two touchdown passes. "There was really
enthusiasm right from the start."
The Patriots (10-4) led 27-0 at halftime, their biggest margin at
intermission in 59 games, but Ron Dayne
scored on a 1-yard run on the Texans' first series of the third quarter.
"You want to respond," Hobbs said. "You don't want (their) offense to
get momentum, feel like they can do something. That's a big downer for
them, a big morale lifter for us."
The Texans (4-10) had hoped their best drive of the game could get them
back in it. But Hobbs followed a block he hoped Willie Andrews would make -- attributing it to "telekinesis"
between the two.
"I guess he just read my mind and got over there and hit him," said
Hobbs, whose interception later in the third quarter led to the third of Stephen Gostkowski's four field goals in four attempts.
"We came out in the third quarter and finally executed," Houston coach
Gary Kubiak said, "but then Hobbs had the kick return, and it went right
back to where it started."
After a six-week stretch in which the Patriots were 3-3 with 19
turnovers, they committed no turnovers against the Texans while forcing David Carr into four interceptions. They can clinch the AFC East
title Dec. 24 with a victory at Jacksonville.
In the first half, Kevin Faulk scored on
an 11-yard run and a 43-yard play on a screen pass, and Brady threw
another touchdown pass, covering 6 yards to Jabar
Gaffney. The defense had four sacks and three interceptions and
held the Texans to 76 yards in the first two quarters.
"It was one of the worst professional performances I've ever been part
of," Houston defensive tackle Anthony Maddox
said. "We played like trash."
Kevin Faulk helped set the tone with two touchdowns in the first quarter.
Benjamin Watson, New England's top pass catcher, missed the
game with a knee injury, and nose tackle Vince
Wilfork sat out with an ankle injury. Safety Rodney Harrison, recovering from a broken shoulder blade, missed his
sixth game, and running back Lawrence Maroney was sidelined for his
second successive game with torn rib cartilage.
The Patriots didn't miss them. Hobbs replaced Maroney on kickoff returns
and Mike Wright had a sack while
Maybe coach Bill Belichick's unusually demanding approach to practice
last week paid off. He even reminded his players the Patriots were the
only team that hadn't scored on defense or special teams.
"At least we won't have to listen to that this week," Brady said.
Not on Monday, anyway. Belichick gave his players the day off for the
second time because of a victory, the other after a 17-13 victory
against Chicago on Nov. 26.
The Texans were coming off a good performance in a 26-20 overtime loss
to surging Tennessee. But they managed only one touchdown one play
before Hobbs scored.
That "took the wind out of us," Houston cornerback Dexter McCleon said.
The Patriots led 17-0 after one quarter on Faulk's touchdowns and
Gostkowski's 36-yard field goal. Gostkowski added a 32-yarder and Brady
threw a 6-yard scoring pass to Gaffney 1:11 before intermission.
"I let myself get out of the game plan," Carr said. "We were so far
behind, I started to try and make plays that weren't there."
The Patriots committed only two penalties after having 23 the previous
"Our main goal," Hobbs said, was that "we would not cost us the game.
They would have to beat us today and any time we could get to situations
where we have to make them beat us, it's very hard to beat us."
Brady was replaced by Matt Cassel midway
through the fourth quarter and Vinny Testaverde
went in for Cassel later. Brady threw for only 109 yards after being held to
78 a week earlier. This week, though, he didn't need any more.
"There's no way in the world they were going to play that way" again,
Houston safety Jason Simmons said. "Tom
Brady wouldn't let them."
The last time the Patriots led by at least 27 points at halftime was
on Dec. 27, 2003 when they were ahead 28-0 en route to a 31-0 victory
On Houston's scoring drive, Carr went 4-for-4 and Dayne ran six times
for 34 yards.
Asante Samuel's NFL-leading eighth interception led to
Gostkowski's 21-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Each team rushed for 105 yards.
The Associated Press News Service
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