The New England Patriots crushed the Houston Texans on Monday night for another December win.
Tom Brady may not have had much sleep on Sunday night â since he and wife Gisele Bundchen welcomed baby daughter Vivian Lake to the family on Dec. 5 â but the New England Patriots quarterback sure looked well-rested during a 42â14 win over the Houston Texans in prime time on Monday night.
Brady completed 21-of-35 passes for 296 yards, four TDs and zero INTs during the 28-point win, marking the future Hall of Famerâs 14th four-TD game and his 36th game with at least three TDs as well as zero INTs â trailing only Peyton Manning (37) on the all-time list.
The near-perfect performance came at just the right time, against a team many felt was the best in the league heading into the high-profile contest.
âIt was a big game because they were 11â1, leading the AFC and we had to see where weâre at, see where we match up against the better teams in the league,â said Brady. âWe lost to Baltimore, whoâs winning their division; we beat Denver, whoâs leading their division; and we beat the Texans, who are leading their division. Itâs always good to win these games.â
Winning big games at Foxborough in December â and January and February, for that matter â is nothing new for New England during the Brady and Bill Belichick era.
The Patriots have won 20 straight home games in December, with their last loss coming against the Jets on Dec. 22, 2002. Overall, the Pats have won 13 straight in December, last losing to the Panthers on Dec. 19, 2009.
New England carries an NFL-best 43â5 record in December since 2001 â Bradyâs first season as the starter and Belichickâs second season at the helm. During that stretch, the Patriots have gone undefeated in December seven times (2001, â03, â05, â07, â08, â10 and â11). This season, two of its final three regular-season games are at home, giving New England a great chance to earn a first-round bye in the AFC Playoffs.
Brady and Belichick have made the playoffs together nine times. In six of those postseasons, the Patriots have been either a No. 1 or 2 seed. They advanced to the Super Bowl in five of those seasons.
Fresh off a big win, with a short week to prepare for an aggressive San Franchisco 49ers defense, the Patriots will need to be firing on all cylinders this week â which will be played in prime time, on Sunday night.
New England has scored 472 points through 13 weeks, putting it on pace for 581 points â eight points shy of the record Brady and Co. set in 2007. But, in classic Brady-Belichick fashion, the previous weeks donât matter. The upcoming December showdown with the 49ers is all that matters.
âWe have played in a lot of big games in December,â said Brady. âIt needs to come together now. This is the perfect time for it.â