Tough way to lose

Watson stars, but Brady dooms Texans in 36-33 loss

Brandin Cooks makes the game-winning catch with 23 seconds left. Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Texans almost did something they had never done before -- beat the Patriots in Foxboro. But in the end, they came up short again. 

They gave Tom Brady a chance late, and he took advantage. Brady threw his fifth touchdown pass of the game with 23 seconds left and the Patriots rallied to beat the Texans 36-33 in a heartbreaker for Houston.

Brady was phenomenal, completing 25 of 35 for 378 yards, the five TDs, one turnover on a fumble and his 50th career game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime. The Patriots went 75 yards on eight plays on the winning drive and Brandin Cooks made a brilliant catch on the game-winner.

Offensively, the Texans did everything they needed to do to win the game. Deshaun Watson was outstanding in his second career start. He was 22 of 32 for 301 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed for 41 yards on eight carries and constantly eluded pressure. In fact,  the Texans played as well on offense as they have during the Bill O’Brien era. Watson was sharp, elusive and made plays. O’Brien’s playcalling was outstanding and tailored to Watson’s game.

But when it mattered, it was too much Brady. He did what he has done throughout his career. The Texans defense simply could not make enough plays when it mattered. 

Even losing the game, the future might be bright for the 1-2 Texans. They appear to finally have an answer at quarterback. He made one bad pass (the second pick was on a last second Hail Mary) but played well throughout and gave the Texans a chance to win.

The Texans had more yards (417-396), led in time of possession by five minutes, sacked Brady five times and led in the fourth quarter against the Super Bowl champs. They came within inches of winning the game on a late Corey Moore interception, but he could not hold the ball, and Brady made no mistakes after that.

The Texans held their own in the first half and trailed only 21-20. Watson was 12 of 16 for 123 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also rushed for 27 yards on six carries, but for the most part the Patriots did a solid job of keeping him contained from breaking a big run.

The interception was bad, and looked like a miscommunication with Hopkins, who had four catches for 38 yards in the half and finished the game with seven for 78.

The defense had some breakdowns, leading to three Brady touchdown passes, but also pressured Brady and scored on a sack/fumble.

It set them up for a terrific second half, and a game the Texans had every chance to win.

But in the end, it was too much Brady. Again. And the Texans came up short in Foxboro.

Again.

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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