No. 8: Cooks in the Clutch
- September 24th 2017
- Week 3
- Gillette Stadium
- Foxborough, Massachusetts
From one battle against a young quarterback to another, when Deshaun Watson came to Gillette Stadium back in 2017 it was his coming-out party of sorts during his rookie season. Despite a pair of weak performances to begin his career, Watson torched the Patriots defense for 301 yards on 66% passing efficiency.
Tom Brady also put up one of his best performances, throwing for 378 yards and five touchdowns as the offense dragged the defense to a win in Foxborough. Rob Gronkowski caught eight passes for 89 yards, including the opening score of the game.
The Texans scored 10 unanswered to take the lead, but a Stephon Gilmore interception gave New England a short field to pull ahead 14-10. On the next Patriots possession that followed a Houston field goal, Brady would fumble the ball off a hit from Whitney Mercilus, which was in turn recovered by Jadeveon Clowney.
A 47-yard Chris Hogan touchdown put New England up 21-20 at the half, and then a 42-yard touchdown reception from Brandin Cooks increased the lead to 28-20. Both defenses would clamp down from here on out, with Houston eventually taking a narrow 33-28 lead with 2:24 remaining.
In one of my personal favorite game-winning drives from Brady, he connected on four consecutive passes – twice to Gronkowski, twice to Cooks – to put New England in Texans territory. A 27-yard pass to Danny Amendola set up this absolutely insane game-winner:
Brady somehow found Brandin Cooks in the front of the end zone, despite the speedy wideout being absolutely draped by Kareem Jackson and Corey Moore. Incredibly, Cooks got both feet inbounds, and New England avoided falling to 2-1 on the young season.
Patriots Player of the Game: Tom Brady, 25/35 for 378 Yards, five touchdowns, and a 146.2 QBR