Patriots clinch playoff spot with 27-6 win over Texans

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) catches a pass for a touchdown over Houston Texans strong safety Quintin Demps (27) during the first hall of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Houston. (AP Photo/George Bridges)

HOUSTON (AP) — Tom Brady threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns and the New England Patriots snapped a two-game skid and clinched a playoff spot with a 27-6 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday night.

Brady threw TD passes to Keshawn Martin and Rob Gronkowski in the first half to help New England build a 17-6 lead.

The Patriots didn’t move the ball as well in the second half, but the defense harassed Brian Hoyer into multiple mistakes. Jabaal Sheard had strip sacks on Hoyer twice after halftime. The Patriots recovered the second one early in the fourth, and James White made it 27-6 with a 2-yard run three plays later.

Hoyer was sacked five times and left the game to be evaluated for a concussion with about 9 minutes remaining. The quarterback already missed a game this season after getting a concussion on Nov. 16.

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