Three times the Patriots have hosted the Houston Texans in Foxboro. Three times the Patriots have won big. Final scores of 40-7 (2006), 42-14 (2012), and 41-28 (2012 playoffs) are impressive, but the latest triumph wasn’t as easy as that last margin suggests thanks to some special teams woes.
The Pats certainly controlled the game from the middle of the first quarter on, and several times they threatened to slam the door on the Texans. But to Houston’s credit, the visitors were never fully out of it. Most of that credit goes to Danieal Manning and the Texans’ return game.
On the first play of the game, Manning broke off a 94-yard return that set up his offense at the New England twelve yardline. Although a strong defensive stand limited Houston to three points, the special teams breakdown was no less problematic.