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Watch QB Jacoby Brissett fumble the ball through the end zone during the Patriots final drive

The Patriots quarterback fumbled away the team’s chance at a game-winning drive. Here’s the rule that explains why the fumble lost the game.

New England Patriots QB Jacoby Brissett had a great opportunity to lead a fourth quarter comeback against the Houston Texans. Returnman Cyrus Jones gave Brissett and the offense fantastic field position on the team’s final two drives, but the Patriots were unable to convert those chances into points.

On the team’s final drive, the Patriots moved down to the Texans 8 yard line, when this happened:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_soUcJDOeHw

Brissett holds on to the football too long and doesn’t feel the pressure coming around his blind side. The defender knocks the ball free and through the end zone, resulting in a touchback. According to the rules, this results in a turnover, sealing the win for the Texans.

Rule 8, Section 7, Article 3, Item 4. [Fumble] Out of Bounds in End Zone. When a fumble goes out of bounds in the end zone, the following shall apply: (a) If a ball is fumbled in the field of play, and goes forward into the opponent’s end zone and over the end line or sideline, a touchback is awarded to the defensive team.

Rule 11, Section 6, Article 3. Ball Next in Play. After a touchback, the team that has been awarded a touchback next snaps the ball at its 20-yard line from any point on or between the inbound lines.

The Texans had fantastic coverage against the Patriots skill players, although their style of coverage is incredibly revealing about what they consider to be Brissett’s skill set.

Houston fakes a five-man rush, but drops the linebacker into coverage. That’s still a four-man rush, leaving seven defenders in coverage.

Patriots TE Sam Cotton and RB D.J. Foster receive double teams in the middle of the field, while the three wide receivers outside the hash marks are in single coverage. The Texans simply weren’t concerned about Brissett throwing to the outside.

Houston did a great job generating pressure to secure the win, but there were two receivers in single coverage on the right side of the formation, right where the Texans pass rusher vacated the gap. Brissett needs to work on his pocket awareness because he’s great when on the move; he could’ve recognized the opening and bought time for a receiver to get open.

Brissett might not play again until the fourth preseason game because week three is usually for the starters and the top back-up. Hopefully he can make some more progress by then.