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The Lane Breakdown: Ignore the score, the Patriots got blown out in Houston

Related: Instant analysis from Patriots’ 28-22 loss to Texans

New England Patriots v Houston Texans Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The New England Patriots got embarrassed in Houston on national television. I know they came back at the end, but let’s be honest, that was a blowout. Say what you want about the offense and the injuries, but they were outplayed and outcoached. It’s a loss that should make you question the future of this team.

Tom Brady is an issue. There’s no easy way to say it, and you don’t want to blame him, but he’s been bad. I know that he has a lot of young receivers and things are still in flux, but his attitude stinks right now. I hate the body language that I’ve seen from him on the sideline, and I don’t know what he wants from the young guys.

I understand that he is frustrated with what he has right now, but he has to deal with that and move on. I realize that N’Keal Harry ran a bad route on his interception, but it was a terrible decision, and the rookie receiver shouldn’t have been benched for the rest of the game because of it. The fact is, if this team is going anywhere, Brady needs to play better.

But Brady wasn’t the only problem on Sunday night, obviously. The defense got exposed by the speed of the Texans, and it was unable to match it all game. Good thing it will get a break with a slow Kansas City Chiefs team coming in this week... Yikes. The Patriots were unable to get to Deshaun Watson very often, and gave up way too many easy passes. This was the first game where I felt like there were guys running open on every play, and they got gashed because of it.

I know that they had a short field on one of the touchdown passes, and that one was on an option play on a pitch from DeAndre Hopkins, but the Patriots gave up as many passing touchdowns in Houston as they have all season. The defense cannot lay a stinker like that again. This team’s strength is its defense, and if it does not play great, I don’t see how New England will win any important games.

The other player that needs to be highlighted is right tackle Marcus Cannon. I know he was sick leading up to this game, and let’s hope that that is the reason he was so bad. He was a turnstile, and had Brady running for his life way too much. Isaiah Wynn is back and playing very well on the other side, but with center Ted Karras now banged up, and who knows when he’ll be back, Cannon really needs to step his game up.

Long story short, if the Patriots lose next weekend against the Chiefs, they could very well end up as the three seed in the AFC, and might have to go on the road to beat Kansas City and Baltimore in the playoffs. I know a lot changed at the end of last season, but that offense had a lot more talent than this one. I can’t imagine this team winning on the road against both those teams.

In other words, if the Patriots have Super Bowl aspirations, they need to win out, or it’s probably not happening.

Pat is a host of The Patriot Nation Podcast

Interact with him on Twitter @plane_pats