Patriots Show Stout Defense in Dominating Win over Texans

Mike DussaultSenior Analyst IDecember 10, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 10:  Brandon Lloyd #85 of the New England Patriots celebrates his touchdown pass with Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots in the first half at Gillette Stadium on December 10, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The New England Patriots sent a statement to the rest of the NFL on Monday night, and it wasn't just that Tom Brady and the Pats offense can be dominant even against an elite defense like the Texans.

It's that the Patriots might've finally found themselves a defense.

The Patriots came out on fire, putting together three straight touchdown drives to start the game to race out to a 21-0 lead. But from there the Pats offense went stale, and it was the Patriots defense that stepped up and held the lead until the Patriots offense got back on track and sealed the game with touchdowns from Donte Stallworth and Brandon Lloyd (via Danny Woodhead's fumble).

The Patriots defense forced seven punts, and twice stopped the Texans on fourth down deep in New England territory. They held the Texans to an elite 4-14 on third down as well in what is the first truly stout defensive performance against an elite team in sometime.

In the end the scoreboard would read Patriots 42, Texans 14.

It would be easy to look at the score and assume the Patriots just blew out the Texans, but the Patriots defensive performance should really be what the rest of the NFL takes heed of. That's what has been missing from being true Super Bowl contenders, and now it looks like the Patriots just might be the favorites for the Lombardi once again.

The Patriots step back into the second seed in the AFC, and are just a half game behind the Texans who cannot afford to slip up against their divisional rival Colts who they'll see twice in the last three weeks.

There's no secret New England is nearly impossible to beat at home, and if the Texans can't hold them off, the road to the Super Bowl might just go through New England for the third straight season.

And this time they might actually have a defense to help Tom Brady.