Rejuvenated Newton, Pats go for third straight vs. Texans

New England quarterback Cam Newton will typically draw the spotlight, whether for praise or criticism, and the Patriots’ recent rebound on offense naturally brings the focus on Newton.On the heels of a four-game losing skid that raised alarms throughout the league, Newton has found a bit of a groove and relatedly, the Patriots appear to be trending in the right direction as they enter Sunday’s game against the host Houston Texans.Newton is 40-of-52 passing for 392 yards and four combined touchdowns in victories over the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens, producing a 106.7 passer rating central to the Patriots’ improved play.A commitment to running the ball — the Patriots are averaging 173.3 rushing yards over their last three games — seems to have bolstered the revival, with New England (4-5) cleaved to the ground game Sunday against the Texans (2-7).”We’ve certainly tried to adapt our style and what we do from week to week to fit our players the best that we can against the opponent that we’re playing, and all credit goes to the players,” Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. “They’ve done some good things.”We have a long way to go. We’ve got a lot of improvements we can still make but they’ve really tried to embrace what we’ve tried to do the last so many weeks. They’ve really worked hard in practice to improve and collectively we’re making some strides.”The Texans continue to search for answers offensively, particularly in the running game. With starting running back David Johnson set to miss a second consecutive game with a concussion, Houston has leaned more on quarterback Deshaun Watson to augment the ground attack.Watson has amassed 124 rushing yards over the last three games after totaling 109 over the initial six. Watson isn’t explicitly running more by design, but the production is surely welcomed.”A lot of those is just kind of reaction and just kind of making plays happen,” Watson said. “It helps the offense to be able to expand what we do, especially open up the run game a little bit. Most of those plays has just been naturally, just kind of pocket collapsing and me just making a play.”

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