Social commentary is always more fun when something great happens. I use great in the most broad of senses. It could be a spectacular play. It could be a spectacularly bad play. It could be the return of a phenomenal player. It could be an unexpected player rising to a challenge, or one completely missing the mark.
For me, the Patriots vs Texans game was the return of Rob Gronkowski and Vince Wilfork. It was a game that always felt safe for New England, although there were two premier players in receiver DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt on the opposing sideline.
We witnessed Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan ascend into a lock down player, even with some help over the top, and we saw Marcus Freaking Cannon take on Watt one-on-one and win the battle.
It's always nice to have a positive game, especially after two straight losses, and Houston was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Keshawn Martin revenge game.— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) December 14, 2015
I can't think of a player that looked like they were having more fun that Keshawn Martin. That muffed punt was the worst play of the day, but before that happened, Martin was one of the players of the game.
While he only posted three catches, one was a touchdown, and the other two were third down conversions. His three punt returns averaged 15.3 yards, which is an insanely high rate.
But then he fumbled the punt and he was never heard from again. Hopefully he remains a part of the offense as Danny Amendola remains limited in practice, but Martin could really become a valuable fourth receiver in the offense.
LeGarrette Blount has tremendous vision on the field, man. Such great eyes. I bet you he eats all kinds of carrots. Wow. LeCarrot Blount.— Jon Gruden (@Faux_Gruden) December 14, 2015
Had to share these.
Chung and Freeny should have been there on the 37-yard run by Jonanthan Grimes.— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) December 14, 2015
Hightower takes on that lead block just a little more stoutly than Chung just did.— Mike Loyko (@NEPD_Loyko) December 14, 2015
Jonathan Freeny was bad before he injured his hand. Now, the Patriots have to play Jerod Mayo ahead in the depth chart, although Dont'a Hightower should be ready to return soon.
I don't know what I'll do if all of a sudden Jonathan Bostic starts to see the field over Mayo. I literally can't even.
LaFell runs directly at the tackler because LaFell.— PatriotsSB50 (@PatriotsSB49) December 14, 2015
LaFell takes, like, six steps before realizing there is no open field that way man pic.twitter.com/WC1P8vxbqu— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) December 14, 2015
The Patriots have added wide receiver Leonard Hankerson and I think the coaching staff is really questioning where LaFell fits into this offense moving forward. Last year was an excellent year for LaFell and he was a fantastic third target behind Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman.
What happened? Will he return back to his 2014 form when Edelman returns and Gronkowski is at 100%, or was 2014 the anomaly and we're all just bearing witness to why the Panthers, with zero wide receivers on the roster, felt comfortable letting him walk in free agency?
If that is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, I sure hope that Jeff Triplette is never on my jury. #Indisputable— James Christensen (@NEPatriotsDraft) December 14, 2015
Biggest lie in football: replay must be definitive to overturn...— Howard Bryant (@hbryant42) December 14, 2015
I don't know how the officials overturned that James White catch. The Danny Amendola catch
Everything going wrong for the Patriots in a road game still equals >>> Brian Hoyer.— Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat) December 14, 2015
I look forward to the days when the Patriots can win a game and no one gets hurt. I really, honestly do. I think the Jets and Bills games have been the only times all season where no one was hurt. I could be wrong about that. But jeez.
On the Brady scramble, they got J.J. Watt to quit on the play. That's a pretty rare feat right there.— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) December 14, 2015
Logan Ryan said it was good to see all the film study pay off against Hopkins. "I probably watched every route he ran all year."— Kevin Duffy (@KevinRDuffy) December 14, 2015
In my opinion, J.J. Watt is a top four defensive player in the league (Raiders Khalil Mack, Rams Aaron Donald, Broncos Von Miller) and DeAndre Hopkins is a top four wide receiver (Steelers Antonio Brown, Falcons Julio Jones, Giants Odell Beckham Jr.).
The Patriots shut them out and it wasn't even close. Right tackle Marcus Cannon was fantastic for the first time all season and cornerback Logan Ryan was exceptional. I want to give full credit to the coaching staff for putting these players in position to succeed, but man.
I'm still not sure how the Texans didn't adjust or find a way to get either player more involved. The Texans stood Watt up at middle linebacker to try and give him a free run at the interior line. It didn't work. Jones was locked down until I jinxed the whole danged thing.
The offense is only going to get better with the return of Julian Edelman and the health of Gronkowski and Amendola, and the defense will hopefully be at full strength in the playoffs with both Hightower and Devin McCourty back on the field. This team is on an upwards trajectory.