Nick Folk drilled a 21-yard field goal with 15 seconds remaining and the New England Patriots rallied for a 25-22 victory over the host Houston Texans on Sunday.
Folk, who missed a PAT following the first Patriots touchdown, finished 4-of-4 on field goals, including a pair of 52-yarders. The Patriots (2-3) rallied from a 13-point deficit early in the third quarter behind rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who passed for 231 yards and a 13-yard touchdown to Hunter Henry early in the fourth quarter, plus a serviceable ground attack.
Texans rookie quarterback Davis Mills passed for 312 yards and three touchdowns, including a 37-yarder to Chris Conley on a flea-flicker for a 22-9 lead early in the third. The score came following a Lonnie Johnson Jr. interception of Jones on the Patriots’ first possession of the half.
Poor special teams play proved costly for the Texans (1-4). Kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn missed two PATs plus a 56-yard field goal that yielded the Patriots’ game-tying touchdown. The Texans also had a zero-yard punt following a bumbled trick play that initiated the New England comeback.
After amassing just 109 yards last week in a 40-point loss at Buffalo, the Texans surpassed that total by the close of their second possession, both of which concluded with Mills touchdown passes.
The Texans covered 79 yards in 10:06 and 18 plays on their opening possession, capped by Mills’ 11-yard touchdown pass to Antony Auclair. The drive was the longest by number of plays for the Texans in 10 years, but Fairbairn missed the first of his two PATs and Houston led 6-0.
After New England responded with a 10-play, 60-yard drive capped by Damien Harris’ 1-yard touchdown run — the Patriots’ first points on an opening possession this season — Mills found Chris Moore for a 67-yard touchdown on third down. The Texans reached 154 yards on the pass play, but Fairbairn missed the PAT and Houston led 12-6, a lead extended to 15-9 by the break.
The Patriots were fortunate to be within six at the intermission. Harris fumbled just prior to crossing the goal line in the second quarter, with Texans cornerback Terrance Mitchell punching the ball free and Jaleel Johnson recovering in the end zone. But two Matt Judon sacks stifled the Texans after Mills connected with Conley for 40 yards to the Patriots’ 4 on fourth down.
–Field Level Media