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Brady threw deep for Welker on the left sideline. The pass looked like an overthrow, but safety Danieal Manning bumped Welker, Welker did some acting, and the flag was thrown, a 36-yard penalty.
Two completions to Welker put the Patriots at the doorstep of the end zone once again. On first down, as Hernandez jogged into his spot outside left, he noticed Manning and Darryl Sharpton still discussing who should cover the tight end, and he signaled to Brady.
Brady called for the snap, took a step back, and hit Hernandez from 4 yards before Manning could get into coverage, making it 21-0.
Likely fearing that things might get out of hand, Texans coach Gary Kubiak, who is the team’s offensive play-caller, went for it twice on fourth down in the second quarter.
It looked like the first attempt was good – Schaub put the ball right on Walter’s hands but the receiver couldn’t hang onto it as he was knocked out of bounds.
And by the end of the night, the Patriots had even found a way to capitalize on their own mistakes: Watt, who got some hits on Brady but didn’t make any impactful plays, punched the ball out of Danny Woodhead’s arms from behind at the tail end of what had been a pretty run from the third-down back; Lloyd took the ball off one hop and landed in the end zone for a fumble recovery touchdown.
Shalise Manza Young can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.