Another week, another new quarterback, another win for the New England Patriots.
Jacoby Brissett had a 27-yard touchdown run in his first NFL start at quarterback, LeGarrette Blount added scoring runs of one and 41 yards, and the Patriots beat the Houston Texans, 27-0, on Thursday night.
It was the Patriots’ first shutout win since 2012. It was the first time the Texans have been shutout since a 27-0 loss at Jacksonville in 2003.
“We really asked a lot out of the team this week — they responded,” Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said. “Just really proud of the way our guys competed.”
Brissett started in place of Jimmy Garoppolo, who was inactive because of an injured right shoulder. It was the first time since Drew Bledsoe in 1993 that New England had started a rookie quarterback.
The Texans (2-1) entered the game with the NFL’s third-ranked defense and nine sacks through two games, but they struggled to put pressure on the 23-year-old quarterback.
Brissett was steady throughout, moving the chains on offense with a diet of short passes and scrambles. The Patriots (3-0) also mixed in lots of pre-snap motion and shifts that helped create both throwing and running lanes for Brissett. He completed 11 of 19 passes for 103 yards and ran eight times for 48 yards.
“You just always want to be ready and we have a great team, so players just welcome you no matter who is in the huddle,” Brissett said. “At any moment in the game no one wavered, no one flinched, and the results proved themselves with what our team did tonight.”
Houston quarterback Brock Osweiler completed 24 for 41 passes for 196 yards and was sacked twice. He also had a promising drive in the second quarter thwarted by Jamie Collins’ interception. The Texans had a chance to get on the board just before halftime, but that drive stalled at midfield.
Houston’s Lamar Miller rushed 22 times for 84 yards. Blount finished with 105 yards and two touchdowns in 24 carries.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski made his season debut after sitting out because of a hamstring injury he sustained during training camp. Gronkowski was used sparingly and mainly as a blocker, appearing in just 14 snaps, three in the second half.
Brissett’s 27-yard touchdown run was the longest for a Patriots quarterback since Steve Grogan went 41 yards for a score in 1976. The longest run of Tom Brady’s career is 22 yards.