There are plenty of highlights from the New England Patriots' 42-10 trouncing of the Houston Texans. From a four touchdown performance by Tom Brady to a dominating performance from the Pats' defense, New England played well in every phase of the game.
These athletes played the biggest role in the game for the Patriots, and they deserve game balls for their outstanding performances on offense, defense and special teams.
Offense—Tom Brady, QB
Tom Brady's performance tonight was par for the course for the superstar, meaning of course that it was an absolute gem.
It was a triumph of efficiency for Brady. He averaged 8.46 yards per attempt on a day in which he racked up 296 yards against one of the better defenses in the NFL.
Most impressive was Brady's stellar deep passing. Brady hit Brandon Lloyd on a picture perfect 37-yard touchdown pass then later in the game hit Donte Stallworth in stride for a 63-yard touchdown.
An honorable mention goes out to right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who held the dominant J.J. Watt without a sack. Watt was mostly a non-factor against the Patriots, and Vollmer was the reason why.
Brady gets the game ball, though, for proving once again that he is one of the best to ever play the game.
Defense—Vince Wilfork, DT
Vince Wilfork was his usual dominant self in this game, helping shut down the Texans running game and getting significant pressure.
Thanks largely to Wilfork's ability to stuff the run, the Patriots surrendered just 46 yards to Arian Foster on 15 carries.
Wilfork also managed a forced fumble and a sack of Matt Schaub, providing solid pressure for most of the night. He excels at pushing the pocket, and tonight was no exception for the massive nose tackle.
When Wilfork is on his game, the Patriots are nearly impossible to run on. Tonight, the Patriots shut down one of the top rushing attacks in the NFL, and Wilfork was one of the main reasons. For that, he earns a game ball.
Special Teams—Zoltan Mesko, P
Punter Zoltan Mesko actually played a significant role in the Patriots' win. He knocked two punts inside the 20 and averaged 48 yards per punt, both solid numbers. The Texans seemed to be losing the field-position battle all game, and Mesko's booming, well-placed punts were a big reason why. Mesko earns a game ball for his unheralded, but important role in winning that battle.