Brady throws 4 TDs, Patriots top Texans 42-14


Brady throws 4 TDs, Patriots top Texans 42-14

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Just another game for the New England Patriots. Just a wire-to-wire domination of the team with the NFL's best record.

So when their 42-14 Monday night rout of the Houston Texans was complete, there were few big smiles and no loud music in the Patriots locker room.

They've been here before - many times.

``We've played in a countless number of big games,'' said guard Logan Mankins, a veteran of two of the Patriots five Super Bowls in the past 11 seasons. ``We know what it takes to prepare for one and not over-hype the game.''

Not exactly the way some Texans viewed it coming in - ``the biggest game in the history of this franchise,'' wide receiver Andre Johnson had said.

Houston certainly didn't play like it, falling behind 21-0 early in the second quarter on three touchdown passes by Tom Brady. It was 28-0 on his fourth scoring toss just over five minutes into the third quarter and, with a strong showing by an improving Patriots defense, the Texans had little hope of coming back.

``If we do what we want,'' safety Devin McCourty said, ``we can't predict the score but we know we can dominate games.''

Starting with Brady.

He threw four touchdown passes for the 18th time, passing Johnny Unitas and moving into fourth place all time. In the Patriots seven-game winning streak - four by a margin of at least 28 points - he's thrown for 19 touchdowns and just one interception.

But Monday night's performance was his first as a father of three, capping off a stretch in which his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, gave birth to Vivian Lake on Wednesday.

``She is doing very well,'' Brady said. ``It's been a great week, a great way to end it.''

The Patriots (10-3) tied the AFC West-leading Denver Broncos for the second best record in the conference and already have clinched the AFC East title. The Texans (11-2) still hold the top spot in the conference, and have locked up at least a wild-card berth, but two of their remaining three games are against Indianapolis, which trails them by two games in the AFC South.

``We know how important this game was to us,'' Johnson said after the Texans six-game winning streak ended. ``We have to respond next week'' against the Colts.

Wes Welker had only three catches and remains five short of becoming the first player with five 100-reception seasons. But his 31-yard punt return and 25-yard catch - the 107th straight game he's had at least one - led to the first of Aaron Hernandez's two touchdowns, a 7-yard score that gave Brady 45 consecutive games with a scoring pass, the third longest streak in NFL history.

Houston came right back, marching to the Patriots 21-yard line. But Matt Schaub forced the ball into double coverage on the next play and McCourty intercepted in the end zone.

It was the farthest the Texans would get until their second series of the third quarter that ended with Arian Foster's 1-yard scoring run that did little to shift the momentum.

``We just got outplayed in all aspects of the game,'' Foster said. ``It's hard to come back from a deficit when you are playing a team of that caliber.''

By the time he had scored, the Patriots had built a 28-0 lead on the 7-yard pass to Hernandez, a 37-yarder to Brandon Lloyd, a 4-yarder to Hernandez and a 63-yarder to Donte' Stallworth, who had been cut in training camp but re-signed last week after wide receiver Julian Edelman was injured.

``That particular play is something we had worked on, even in the spring,'' Stallworth said.

That helped New England to its 20th successive home win in December dating to a loss in 2002 to the New York Jets.

``It is always good to play in Foxborough in December,'' linebacker Jerod Mayo said. ``When you go out and perform the way you do, I think Foxborough is going to be a tough place for anyone to come and play.''

It certainly was for Houston, no longer the only team to be unbeaten on the road, falling to 6-1.

Brady nearly had a fifth touchdown pass when Danny Woodhead broke free on a screen pass early in the fourth quarter. Defensive end J.J. Watt, who was pretty much invisible otherwise, forced a fumble, but the ball soared 11 yards into the end zone, where Lloyd fell on it for a 35-7 lead.

Stevan Ridley made it 42-7 with a 14-yard run. Texans backup quarterback T.J. Yates scored on a 1-yard run with 2:00 remaining to close the scoring.

``We got our tails kicked,'' Houston coach Gary Kubiak said. ``I've got to get their chins up and get ready to go play again.''

Notes: Watt, who leads the AFC with 16 1/2 sacks, had none against the Patriots. ... New England CB Aqib Talib hurt his hip in the second quarter. CB Alfonzo Dennard injured his hamstring. ... Brady completed 21 of 35 passes for 296 yards. Schaub went 19 for 32 for 232 yards. ... New England has won 10 games in each of the last 10 seasons. The record is 16 by San Francisco (1983-98).


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Wizards blown out by Spurs, as streak of losses in San Antonio since 1999 continues

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Wizards blown out by Spurs, as streak of losses in San Antonio since 1999 continues

The Washington Wizards lost to the San Antonio Spurs 98-90 on Wednesday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Streak continues: Many will tell you that San Antonio, TX is a wonderful city rife with history, good restaurants and warm weather. Please excuse the Washington Wizards if they hate the place.

They lost to the Spurs in a blowout on Wednesday and remain winless in San Antonio going all the way back to 1999. It was their 18th straight loss when playing at the Spurs.

The Spurs win games with their defense and this one was no exception. The Wizards scored their fewest points since Jan. 22, nearly two months, and shot just 42.7 percent. The Spurs hold opponents to the lowest points per game in the NBA (99.0) and the Wizards fell into all of their traps.

Bradley Beal was the only one immune to it. He had 21 points on 9-for-13 shooting. The rest of the Wizards shot just 26-for-69 (37.7%).

Losing in San Antonio has come to be expected for the Wizards, but they picked a bad night to drop a game. The Cavaliers and Sixers both won. Philly winning means more because they passed the Wizards in the East and currently sit fourth while the Wizards are in the sixth spot. 

If the playoffs began with those seeds, the Wizards would see the Cavaliers in the first round. Even though the Cavs aren't what they were a year ago, that should be avoided if possible.


Hustle plays: The Spurs also beat the Wizards at the minor details of the game, something they have long been good at under head coach Gregg Popovich. They got the loose balls and offensive rebounds at key moments to either sustain or steal momentum away from Washington.

In the first half, 40-year-old Manu Ginobli dove on the ground to beat Ramon Sessions to a loose ball and it led to two points by Pau Gasol. In the third quarter, Patty Mills flipped around quickly to steal an outlet pass from Marcin Gortat that led to free throws. And in the third there was one play when the Spurs got three offensive rebounds and ultimately got to the free throw line again.

The Spurs out-rebounded the Wizards 43-34 overall and outdid them in offensive rebounds 12-8. They just wanted it more on this particular night.


Oubre stood out: The Spurs' defense got the best of most players on the Wizards, but Kelly Oubre, Jr. was an exception. The third-year pro has been struggling with his shot in recent weeks, so in this one he stuck to high percentage looks, at least early. He had 10 points in his first nine minutes on 5-for-7 shooting, many of those attempts right around the rim.

Oubre attacked the lane dribbling both to his left and his right. He finished with floaters, tough layups and on one fastbreak with a thunderous left-handed slam:

Oubre ended up with 21 points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks. He shot 9-for-17 from the field and 3-for-6 from three.

Oubre has continued to make an impact defensively, even when his shot is not falling. But he has to get more creative some nights to affect games when he isn't hitting from long range. Wednesday was a good example of how he can use his athleticism to take matters into his own hands.

It is a tricky balance, however, because sometimes his aggression can lead to mistakes. That certainly happened at times even in this game, as he had two turnovers. But when Oubre can contain his explosiveness, he can make a big difference.


Under the weather: Already without Wall, the Wizards had to shorten their rotation by two players against the Spurs as both Jodie Meeks and Mike Scott were out due to flu-like symptoms. In Meeks and Scott, the Wizards were missing two key pieces on their bench.

Instead of giving Tim Frazier and Jason Smith a rare and extended opportunity, head coach Scott Brooks instead chose to tighted things up. He relied heavily on the starters until the game was out of hand.

Brooks also got experimental, playing Tomas Satoransky (zero points, 0-for-7 FG) and Sessions together in the second quarter with Oubre and Otto Porter (12 points, seven rebounds) as the forwards. In the fourth quarter, we saw a lineup with three point guards: Sessions, Frazier and Satoransky.

The fact the Wizards had three days off before this game helped allow Brooks to rely on his starters early. It was also an opportunity for Brooks to see what life will be like when Wall returns. There is a chance Satoransky could see more time off the ball. This gave him another glimpse of how he can use Satoransky in more creative ways once the minutes at point guard go down significantly.


Up next: The Wizards are off Thursday before returning home to host the Denver Nuggets on Friday with a 7 p.m. tipoff on NBC Sports Washington. That will be a special night at Capital One Arena as the Wizards retire Phil Chenier's No. 45 jersey. 

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Should Bradley Beal be an All-NBA selection?


Wizards Tipoff podcast: Should Bradley Beal be an All-NBA selection?

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, host Chase Hughes was joined by guest co-host Travis Thomas to break down Bradley Beal's All-NBA chances and John Wall's injury rehab.

They also discussed the crazy Eastern Conference playoff race, Trae Young's draft stock and essentials for a good snow day.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!