The New England Patriots' win streak ends at two, with the Houston Texans beating the six-time Super Bowl champions 27-20 in Week 11. The Patriots fall to 4-6 on the season, meanwhile Houston now climbs to 3-7.
Here are some instant takeaways from the New England's loss on the road.
Houston's Tight Ends Feasted on Patriots Secondary
One of the reasons that Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense had so much success against New England's defense was because of Houston's tight ends, who feasted on the Patriots secondary.
Darren Fells, Jordan Akins and Pharaoh Brown combined for nine catches and 132 receiving yards. The large-framed tight ends out-bodied New England's defensive backs, giving players like Joejuan Williams and Kyle Dugger a hard time all game long. That led in part to 241 passing yards and two touchdowns for Watson in the first half, and 344 total passing yards in the game for the Clemson product.
New England's secondary has had their fair share of poor performances this year, which could be a sign of them playing poor teams last year, a poor pass rush this year, or both. Either way, if they don't fix the issues in their defensive backfield the Patriots can't be expected to beat many teams moving forward.
Newton Has Second 300-Yard Game as Patriot
Cam Newton went his fourth straight game without a turnover, and also cracked 300 yards passing for the second time as a Patriot in Week 11.
Newton completed 26-of-40 passes for 365 yards and one touchdown against Houston. While the Patriots offense overall wasn't extremely efficient, the defense giving up 27 points didn't do them any favors either.
In 2020, if the Patriots want to win games the defense needs to keep the opponents' point total low. But they have yet to prove they can consistently do that. So, the losing continued for New England in Week 11.
Rex Burkhead Injury Season Ending?
Early in the third quarter Rex Burkhead suffered a punishing blow to his knee after taking a pitch on 3rd & 1.
Both teams were down on one knee as the Patriots medical staff tended to Burkhead, who was down on the field following the play and was in a lot of pain. After going to the blue medical tent, a cart shortly came out to bring the veteran running back to the locker room, and Burkhead would shortly after be ruled out for the remainder of the game.
This is a significant blow to the Patriots. Burkhead is in the midst of a career year, being an incredible change-of-pace back for New England. His absence from the lineup will negatively impact New England's offense moving forward.
Hopefully Burkhead's injury isn't season ending. But by the looks of it, it very well could be.
Damiere Byrd Has Career Game
One of the highlights of a lackluster offensive performance for the Patriots was the play of receiver Damiere Byrd, who had a career outing Sunday afternoon.
Byrd caught six passes for a career-high 132 receiving yards. He was the only consistent threat in the passing game for the Patriots.
With Jakobi Meyers, who was on a tear over the past several games, being held to just three catches for 38 yards against Houston, the Patriots needed a big game from Byrd. And that's exactly what they got, even if it didn't help them extend their win streak.
Donte Moncrief Makes Debut
After being on the practice squad since Nov. 4, veteran receiver Donte Moncrief made his Patriots debut against the Texans.
Moncrief caught one pass for 15 yards against Houston. His impact wasn't big, but any contribution the Patriots can get in the passing game is very helpful at this point.
In no way should we expect big things from Moncrief moving forward. But his experience as a veteran pass catcher and big body could come in handy during the second half of the regular season.
Still No Isaiah Ford
After being traded to the Patriots ahead of the trade deadline, wide receiver Isaiah Ford has had two opportunities to take the field in a game for New England, but has not made his Patriots debut yet. In Week 10 he was active but did not play a single snap, and was inactive for the Patriots' Week 11 game.
Based on how the season is going, the coaching staff likely wants to groom Ford as much as they can to make sure he has masters the playbook before he takes the field. Because of that, it may be another week or two before we see Ford earn snaps for the six-time Super Bowl champions.
We all know New England needs as much help as they can get in the passing game, but Ford's contributions are still a little ways away.