When Tom Brady comes into work this week he will enter with the recollection of a quintessential, picturesque annihilation of a foe deemed at the outset worthy of playing tit for tat with the Patriots but who left looking defective and inadequate to even be mentioned in the same sentence as the defending AFC champions.
Tom Brady was masterful, Vince Wilfork unblockable, Danny Woodhead…interesting, Aaron Hernandez uncovered or un-coverable, and Kyle Arrington had a breakthrough performance en route to a 42-14 Patriot's blowout of the Houston Texans.
J.J. Watt couldn't get sacks, the defensive line couldn't knock down balls, and Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson couldn't break through the New England secondary as they were humbled by a New England team that showed they are still the team to beat in the AFC.
Facing their first real test since the Broncos in week six, the Patriots needed a win to compete for the AFC's number one seed and controlled their own destiny to pick up a first round bye.
The scoring began quickly for the NFL's number one offense. After Wes Welker returned a punt 31 yards, caught a 25 yard pass, and forced a hold in the Texan's secondary, Brady threw a seven yard touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez.
Patriot receivers were wide open all over the field. Brandon Lloyd was uncovered on a 37 yard touchdown pass after Houston bit on play action, and nobody lined up opposite Aaron Hernandez, who stepped cleanly into the end zone after catching Tom Brady's third touchdown pass to make the score 21-0.
Houston looked like anything but the NFL's second best scoring offense. Vince Wilfork was immovable as he blew up running play after running play in the backfield. Matt Schaub missed a wide open Arian Foster for a check down, opting instead to go deep resulting in a Devin McCourtey interception in the end zone. Houston failed to put a single point on the board their first three trips into Patriot territory and the New England defense looked like a far cry from the unit that was making Mark Sanchez look halfway decent earlier in the year.
Kyle Arrington made key plays including breaking up a deep ball to Lestar Jean early in the game, and a fourth down pass to Kevin Walter in New England territory.
Danny Woodhead caught a pass from Tom Brady, broke a couple of tackles and then brilliantly fumbled 10 yards forward into the end zone, where it was recovered by Brandon Lloyd to put the Patriots up 35-7 near the beginning of the fourth quarter.
If this performance cannot be likened to genius then the definition of the word should be changed to reflect the essence of the man who personifies it. Bill Belichick came, saw, and conquered. He systematically obliterated one the game's best defenses and exterminated its second ranked offense. And as has become commonplace in the home of the great American patriots John Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock, come December, the New England Patriots are once again poised for another super bowl run.
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