The New England Patriots lead the Houston Texans 21-20 at the half. New England gets the ball after the break. To start the game, the New England Patriots and Houston Texans protested racism in a unifying display featuring a large number of players on both teams.
Those that took a knee, via NESN’s Doug Kyed: Johnson Bademosi, Brandon Bolden, Alan Branch, Malcom Brown, Adam Butler, Malcolm Butler, Brandin Cooks, Trey Flowers, Stephon Gilmore, Lawrence Guy, Duron Harmon, Jonathan Jones, Brandon King, Devin McCourty, Jordan Richards, Elandon Roberts, James White, and Deatrich Wise. Kyle Van Noy did not kneel, but he stood with these players.
And those that linked arms, also via Kyed: Dwayne Allen, David Andrews, Tom Brady, Phillip Dorsett, Cameron Fleming, Marquis Flowers, Jimmy Garoppolo, David Harris, Ted Karras, Cassius Marsh, Shaq Mason, Matthew Slater, Nate Solder, Joe Thuney, and LaAdrian Waddle.
Here’s the official statement from Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft:
"I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday. I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities. Their efforts, both on and off the field, help bring people together and make our community stronger. There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics. I think our political leaders could learn a lot from the lessons of teamwork and the importance of working together toward a common goal. Our players are intelligent, thoughtful and care deeply about our community and I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful.”
Cameron Fleming earned the start at left tackle with Nate Solder as the extra blocker, but Solder has really struggled for the third straight week. LaAdrian Waddle has been the right tackle. The Patriots starting defense included Adam Butler, Lawrence Guy, Elandon Robers, Cassius Marsh, and Marquis Flowers.
The Patriots defense started out hot with a three-and-out and the New England offense responded with a touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski and a 7-0 lead.
The Texans recorded the next two scores with a touchdown and a field goal courtesy of a huge 34-yard pass interference call against Stephon Gilmore and a horrible punt by Ryan Allen.
The Patriots needed a spark and got one when Gilmore intercepted and returned the ball to the 12-yard line. Brady found Chris Hogan wide open in the end zone for a 14-10 lead.
The Houston offense responded with a field goal and the ball went back to the Patriots, but Brady was strip-sacked by Whitney Mercilus. Jadeveon Clowney caught the ball in the air and returned it for a score and a 20-14 Houston lead.
Brady and the Patriots offense immediately went back to work as he found Hogan for a 47-yard touchdown score and a 21-20 lead. The Patriots get the ball after the half.