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At the half: Texans 13, Patriots 13

Posted by Albert Breer  January 3, 2010 02:36 PM

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HOUSTON -- Everything here is officially a sidebar to what happened with Wes Welker.

Perhaps the Patriots most valuable offensive weapon all year long, Welker went down with what seemed to be a very serious left knee injury. On the play, the fourth from scrimmage for the New England offense, Welker got in the open field and went to make a move on (what are the odds?) Bernard Pollard. As he tried to shake the safety, his foot planted and his knee buckled and now it seems like there's a pretty good chance will be played without him.

As for the rest of the game, Tom Brady played three series, looking fairly sharp in helping the Patriots produce 10 early points, helping the Patriots convert five third downs before getting the gate. Brian Hoyer fumbled on his first play, leading to Houston's second touchdown, but has been efficient since, completing 6-of-7 passes for 51 yards and setting up a field goal.

The defense, outside of a very leaky first drive, has been pretty good. The pass rush hasn't been great, and the run defense has been inconsistent, but mixing fronts and playing well situationally, the Patriots have gotten by without a blemish since Joel Dreesen's 25-yard touchdown. Credit Shawn Springs with playing a tough, physical game on  Andre Johnson, who's been held to 15 yards on two catches.

The Patriots have bracketed the superstar quite a bit, and disguised some too ... On the James Sanders' penalty, the safety started over to Johnson's side before the snap, giving Schaub a false read, then doubled back to the middle to crush David Anderson.

It'll be hard for New England to hold on from here, as a desperate Texans team will probably get more help from a Patriots staff looking to manage the roster.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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