After LeGarrette Blount started the game with a 14 yard run, the New England Patriots would be forced to punt, after Chris Hogan dropped pass on third pass.
On their first possession, the Houston Texans would go three and out. After punting, Whitney Mercilus sacked Tom Brady on first down, which led to a Patriots punt.
Tyler Ervin returned it 33 yards to the 50 yard line, but Dont'a Hightower would pick off Brock Osweiler on a 3rd down pass to C.J. Fiedorowicz.
A 39 yard pass to Julian Edelman would end the first quarter. Brady snapped the ball from the Texans 3, faked the handoff to Blount and found Martellus Bennett in the endzone for a Patriots touchdown.
New England leads 7-0 early in the 2nd quarter.
Shea McClellin sacked Osweiler on 2nd down and DeAndre Hopkins caught a 3rd down pass a few yards shy of the first down marker, leading to another Houston punt.
Quintin Demps would get to Brady on a blitz that forced a long 3rd down and a Patriots punt
On first down, Osweiler threw a screen pass to Lamar Miller that was good for 20 yards. During the next set of down, Hopkins beating Malcolm Butler down the right sideline for a 43 yard TD.
The game was tied at 7 midway through the 2nd quarter.
Houston's defense kept applying pressure and this time it was Jadeveon Clowney's 3rd down sack as the Patriots approached midfield that forced another New England punt.
The Texans converted 3rd and 1 from the Patriots 45 to keep the drive alive as we reached the 2 minute warning. New England would force a punt and get the final possession of first half
Shane Lechler pinned NE back to their own 5 yard line. but Brady would drive the team down the field and hook up with Martellus Bennett for another touchdown.
Pats go into the locker room up 14-7.
A few minutes into the 3rd quarter, Lamar Miller broke off a 36 yard run to the left side on first down, thanks to a huge block by the right guard Jeff Allen. Texans would eventually punt.
James White scored from 40 yards on a screen pass, thanks to a 3rd and 1 run by Blount that kept the drive alive. On another 3rd down play, Brady hit Malcolm Mitchell to put the Pats in Texans territory and on the next 3rd down, White scored.
New England leads 21-7.
Needing to put points on the board, Houston didn't help themselves with a false start penalty on 2nd down. This backed them up to their own 20 to setup a 2nd and 15. Osweiler would complete a pass to Will Fuller that gained 28 yards, which would set up a scoring drive for Houston.
On the final play of the 3rd quarter, Hopkins caught a 49 yard pass to give the Texans 1st and goal on the Patriots 3 yard line. Lamar Miller finished the drive with a rushing touchdown on the first play of the 4th quarter.
Texans trail 21-14.
Houston forced a three and out and Ervin had another solid punt return, this time good for 34 yards to give Osweiler great starting field position.
On the first play of that possession, Lamar Miller took a toss left for 51 yards and scored the game tying touchdown.
With momentum shifting, the Texans stopped the Patriots offense again. This time, deep inside their own territory after a Brady fumble that was recovered by Nate Solder. Ervin returned the punt to the Patriots 37 and Houston was setup nicely, with a chance to take the lead.
Nick Novak would miss a 56 yard field goal, as his kick did not have enough leg. New England would take over on their 46 yard line, with score tied at 21.
The Patriots were able to dink and dunk and win in the trenches to keep the clock running, while slowly moving down the field to set up a 26 yard Stephen Gostkowski game winning field goal. It was the most Patriots thing ever.
As expected, they are headed to the AFC Championship, but they had to fight for it.
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28/40 for 291 yards and three touchdowns
12/20 for 176 yards and a touchdown
13 attempts for 120 yards and two touchdowns
16 attempts for 49 yards
6 catches for 63 yards and two touchdowns
6 catches for 100 yards
4 catches for 113 yards and a touchdown
3 catches for 52 yards and a touchdown