The Texans entered the game allowing 6.6 yards per pass attempt, sixth in the NFL. Tom Brady proceeded to go 21-of-35 for 296 yards and four touchdowns.
New England was up 28-0 at one point and had a 42-7 advantage before Houston scored a garbage-time touchdown with two minutes remaining in the game.
Matt Schaub's struggles were a bit of an oddity given New England's propensity to give up yardage through the air this season, but the lock down of Arian Foster should give teams pause. The Patriots, who have had a much better run defense this year than in 2011, held the star running back to 46 yards on 15 carries.
If the Patriots can limit teams on the ground for the rest of the season, that may be enough to capture a Super Bowl. This offense is so explosive that simply limiting an opposing offense could see Brady and Co. earn another ring.
And before you say that teams like the San Francisco 49ers could disrupt the Patriots' passing attack with their pass rush, remember that the Texans had 36 sacks headed into Monday night's game (ranked fifth in the NFL). They managed just one sack on Brady.
Brady, like the Manning brothers, is hard to sack because he gets the ball out so quickly. The offensive line isn't bad, either. The Patriots have allowed just 20 sacks this season, fifth-fewest in football.
Obviously, the Patriots aren't invincible. They have three losses on the year, after all. But if the 49ers can't stop them in Week 15, you wonder if anyone can.
Simply getting into a shootout with this Patriots team isn't enough to beat them. You also have to be elite defending the pass. The Seattle Seahawks did this in Week 6, but the Patriots have rattled off seven straight victories since then. Unless New England stops themselves with turnovers (they almost had two at Houston's goal line on Monday), there's a good chance they run the table for the rest of the season.
The showdown with San Francisco in Week 15 will be the ultimate barometer of how far New England has come since the loss to the Seahawks.
Right now, it's hard to see the Patriots losing.
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