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Texans hold off Patriots in preseason NFL play

Staff Report
August 20. 2017 4:32AM
New England Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) throws during the second half against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

Jacoby Brissett fumbled, the Patriots' third turnover of the game, in the final minute to stymie New England's final drive in a 27-23 loss to the Houston Texans in preseason NFL play Saturday night in Houston.

Brisett had driven the team from midfield to the Houston 8, but he was hit while going back to throw and fumbled. The ball rolled through the end zone for a touchback, giving the ball back to Houston.

Houston's winning score followed a Jimmy Garoppolo interception in the fourth quarter. His pass, intended for Cody Hollister, was picked off by Houston's Denzel Rice, who returned the ball to the New England 4. D'Onta Foreman rumbled in on the first play from scrimmage, which put Houston ahead 27-23.

Garoppolo had led New England (0-2) to the go-ahead score, connecting with D.J. Foster on a 25-yard pitch-and-catch for a score.

DeShaun Watson scored on a 2-yard run in the third quarter to put Houston up 17-16. A Ka'imi Fairbairn field goal on the Texans' next drive made it 20-16. New England's Stephen Gostkowski connected from 42 yards out in the third quarter, one of three field goals he made.

Garoppolo went 15-for-23 for 145 yards. Brissett went 5-for-10 for 36 yards. Pats starter Tom Brady played two series in the first half, going 6-for-10 for 67 yards and a score.

Tom Savage was efficient for Houston (1-1), connecting on 8 of 9 passes for 98 yards and a TD. Watson went 3-for-10 for 102 yards. The Texans did not turn the ball over.

Houston struck first as Savage connected with Jaelen Strong on a 2-yard touchdown. Savage went 5-for-5 on the drive, including a 6-yard pass to tight end Ryan Griffin, a Londonderry High School graduate. Lavar Miller carried three times for 15 yards on the drive.

The Pats struck back on their next drive as Brady marched them 75 yards in 10 plays, capped by a 22-yard touchdown catch and run from Rex Burkhead.

Gostkowski kicked field goals of 38 and 52 yards, sandwiched around a Fairbairn 31-yarder for Houston, to make the score 13-10 at the half.

James O'Shaughnessy led New England in receiving with 5 catches for 41 yards. Dion Lewis carred seven times for 34 yards.

New England's next preseason game is Friday night in Detroit against the Lions.

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