Final

Patriots 27

(10-6, 2-6 away)

Texans 34

(9-7, 4-4 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, January 3, 2010

Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX 

1 2 3 4 T
NE 7 6 7 727
HOU 7 6 0 2134

Top Performers

Passing: M. Schaub (HOU) - 303 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: A. Foster (HOU) - 20 CAR, 119 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: J. Edelman (NE) - 10 REC, 103 YDS

Texans rally past Patriots for first winning season

ESPN.com news services

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans did what they could on Sunday, but didn't get enough help to make their first trip to the playoffs.

Rookie Arian Foster scored two touchdowns and Bernard Pollard recovered a fumble for a touchdown and had a key interception as the Texans rallied to beat the New England Patriots 34-27.

Reiss: A Devastating Loss

The Pats looked like a team nobody wanted to face. Then they lost receiver Wes Welker, writes Mike Reiss. Story

• More Reiss

The victory gave Houston (9-7) its first winning record, but the New York Jets clinched the final AFC wild-card spot with a win over the Bengals Sunday night.

Houston entered the day competing primarily with the Jets, Ravens and Broncos for a wild-card spot and needed a win and losses by two of those teams to get in. Baltimore grabbed the first spot with a victory, but Houston stayed in the hunt for a few extra hours with Kansas City's win over Denver.

Their hopes for the first postseason trip in their eight-year history were dashed with New York cruising to a 37-0 win over the playoff-bound Bengals.

"I'm disappointed with the way Cincinnati played," Texans owner Bob McNair said. "I thought that probably that game, the odds were a little more in our favor than any of the other games [Sunday]. As it turned out they just left their game at home."

Fast Facts

• The Texans scored 21 unanswered points in the final 10 minutes of the game to beat the Pats.

• Matt Schaub (24-for-39, 303 yards, two TDs, one interception) had his ninth 300-yard passing game of the season

• Houston was paced by career highs of 119 rush yards and two touchdowns (both in the fourth quarter) from Arian Foster.

• Julian Edelman had career highs of 10 receptions and 103 yards in place of an injured Wes Welker.

• Bloggers' wrapups

• Rapid reaction

-- ESPN Stats & Information

Houston knew that a playoff berth was unlikely, but was happy to rebound from a four-game skid by winning its final four games to have a winning mark after two straight 8-8 seasons.

"We're winners," cornerback Dunta Robinson said. "We're not right at .500. We're over .500. It's a great thing. I can say that I was a part of the first winning season for the Houston Texans. We're a part of something special."

McNair, who brought the NFL back to Houston in 2002 after the Oilers left for Tennessee following the 1996 season, was proud of his team's finish and of Gary Kubiak's job as coach.

"We only had one game where we really didn't have a great opportunity to win the game," he said. "And we've never been in that position before, so I think he's done a good job of managing the club and he's done it dealing with some adversity that could have pushed us in the other direction."

The Texans trailed by 14 points in the fourth quarter before ending the game with three unanswered touchdowns. Foster scored the go-ahead TD on a 3-yard run with about two minutes remaining.

"We weren't going to be denied," coach Kubiak said. "I'm really proud of our football team."

That score was set up by Pollard's interception and 15-yard return four plays earlier. Tom Brady was hit by Mario Williams as he released the ball.

Pollard, who delivered the hit that ended Brady's season in 2008, has become a leader on Houston's defense after signing in September following his release from the Chiefs.

"A lot of people don't get second chances and I'm taking full advantage of mine," Pollard said.

Brady played most of the game despite New England (10-6) having already clinched its playoff spot. He was replaced by rookie Brian Hoyer in the second quarter and on the Patriots' last drive.

"We didn't really have anything set," coach Bill Belichick said. "We just went out and played. We let him play a couple of times, maybe those are good situations that are going to come up for him. We played the game like we thought we needed to play it."

Five starters, including leading rusher Laurence Maroney, were inactive for the AFC East champion Patriots, but Randy Moss and Wes Welker started with Brady.

Belichick's decision to play many of his starters will likely be second-guessed after leading receiver Welker was carted off the field with a left knee injury in the first quarter.

Welker's left leg buckled as he turned to go upfield after a 12-yard reception on New England's first possession. He remained on the turf for a couple of minutes before hobbling to the sideline with help from Patriots officials and was soon taken to the locker room on a cart.

Initial tests show that Welker tore both his anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his left knee, but he is scheduled to undergo more testing Monday, a source close to the situation told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The injury will presumably end Welker's season.

Belichick did not have an update on Welker's status after the game and Brady was not made available to reporters. The Texans defense held on New England's last possession with Hoyer at quarterback.

Andre Johnson, who joined the Texans in their second season, couldn't contain his emotions when the game was decided.

"I just started yelling," he said. "It was like a sigh of relief. This is something that I've been working for since I've been here."

Houston tied the game on a 1-yard run by Foster with about five minutes remaining. The Texans got the ball back after Williams sacked Brady on third-and-4.

Brady was 17 of 26 for 186 yards and Moss had 75 yards receiving.

Matt Schaub threw for 303 yards and two touchdowns and Foster had 119 yards rushing.

Game notes


Schaub finished the season with an NFL-high 4,770 yards passing. ... Johnson finished with 65 yards receiving and has 1,569 for his second straight 1,500-yard season. ... Welker's NFL-high 123 receptions this season are tied with Herman Moore for second most in NFL history. ... New England's Julian Edelman had a career high with 10 receptions for 103 yards.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NE
HOU
1st Downs2129
Passing 1st downs
1418
Rushing 1st downs
49
1st downs from penalties
32
3rd down efficiency
4-103-7
4th down efficiency
0-10-1
Total Plays5967
Total Yards317439
Yards per play5.46.6
Total Drives911
Passing243295
Comp-Att
25-3824-39
Yards per pass
6.17.4
Interceptions thrown
11
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-141-8
Rushing74144
Rushing Attempts
1927
Yards per rush
3.95.3
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-34-6
Penalties4-555-35
Turnovers21
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
11
Defensive / Special Teams TDs11
Possession28:2631:34

Passing Leaders

NEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brady17/261867.2011-4
Hoyer8/12715.9001-10
HOUC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Schaub24/393037.8211-8

Rushing Leaders

NECARYDSAVGTDLG
Taylor7334.7212
Green-Ellis4225.5012
HOUCARYDSAVGTDLG
Foster201196.0224
Moats4174.3015

Receiving Leaders

NERECYDSAVGTDLG
Edelman1010310.3025
Moss57515.0041
HOURECYDSAVGTDLG
Dreessen68113.5125
Johnson66510.8022

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNEHOU
houTD11:25Joel Dreessen 25 Yard Pass From Matt Schaub (Kris Brown Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 76 yds, 3:41
07
neTD0:55Fred Taylor 4 Yard Run (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 63 yds, 4:39
77
SECOND QUARTERNEHOU
neFG9:56Stephen Gostkowski 51 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 9 plays, 58 yds, 4:47
107
houTD4:45Bernard Pollard Fumble Recovery (Kris Brown Kick is No Good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 78 yds, 5:06
1013
neFG0:50Stephen Gostkowski 43 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 10 plays, 66 yds, 3:55
1313
THIRD QUARTERNEHOU
neTD7:56Darius Butler 91 Yard Interception Return (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 69 yds, 5:08
2013
FOURTH QUARTERNEHOU
neTD14:10Fred Taylor 11 Yard Run (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 71 yds, 3:53
2713
houTD9:47Jacoby Jones 8 Yard Pass From Matt Schaub (Kris Brown Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 69 yds, 4:23
2734
houTD4:46Arian Foster 1 Yard Run (Kris Brown Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 34 yds, 2:47
2734
houTD2:00Arian Foster 3 Yard Run (Kris Brown Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 28 yds, 1:55
2734