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FOXBOROUGH http://www.patriotsauthorizedshop.com/authentic-jason-mccourty-jersey , Mass. (AP) — Tyrann Mathieu intercepted Tom Brady’s pass and also recovered a fumble Sunday against the New England Patriots.

Not good enough, if you ask the Houston Texans safety.

“Yeah, I touched the leather, but I didn’t touch the end zone,” Mathieu said after the 27-20 loss in the opener. “We lost by seven points, so that’s how I look at it and how I judge myself.”

A free agent who signed with the Texans after spending the first five years of his career in Arizona, Mathieu was Houston’s biggest offseason acquisition. The signing seemed to pay off in his very first game.

Brady dropped back near his own goal line and took aim for running back James White across the middle. But defensive lineman Angelo Blackson deflected the ball, and Mathieu reached behind him to grab it as he went to the turf.

“That’s why we brought him here,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “We think he’s an instinctive player, from what I can see.”

Blackson said he anticipated that Brady would try to step up in the pocket and throw, so the goal was to get a hand in his face. The ball went off Blackson’s hand and fluttered downward before Mathieu grabbed it at the 17.

But the Texans missed a chance to take advantage of the field position, losing seven yards before settling for a field goal that cut the deficit to 7-3. In the third quarter Saquon Barkley Jersey Elite , Brady connected with Rob Gronkowski for a 25-yard reception before the Patriots tight end was hit by Kareem Jackson and lost the ball.

Mathieu scooped it up. The Texans advanced to the New England 17 but turned the ball over on downs.

“He’s a great player,” defensive lineman J.J. Watt said. “We knew we were getting a great player and a guy that can change games and he did a great job today. With the pick, the fumble recovery, that’s another guy that can make game-changing plays and the more we can of that, and the more we can all start to do our part in that, the better we’re going to be.”

A year after losing to the Patriots 36-33, O’Brien returned to New England with a healthy team that had hopes of beating his former mentor.

Watt returned after playing only five games last season because of a broken leg, and Whitney Mercilus also returned from a torn pectoral muscle that put him on injured reserve in 2017.

With Jadeveon Clowney recovering from knee surgery following the best season of his career and Mathieu joining the secondary, the Texans’ defense was a strong point.

And with Deshaun Watson (176 yards passing, 40 running) also returning from an injury after a stellar start to his rookie year, the offense figured to be dangerous, too.

But Brady and Gronkowski carved up the Texans at the worst times Youth Cassius Marsh Jersey , including a two-minute drill at the end of the first half after taking over at their own 22 with just 88 seconds on the clock. Brady completed 5 of 6 passes on the drive, hitting Phillip Dorsett on a 4-yard touchdown pass that extended the New England lead to 21-6.

“To give up that touchdown, it is very frustrating,” Clowney said. “I am very upset right now. I hate losing and I hate playing bad and all of that. I know I’ve got a lot of season left and a lot of improvement to do.”

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Kevin Byard no longer needs the tweet of Deion Sanders calling the All-Pro and Pro Bowl safety “a fan” as the lock screen on his cellphone.

The Tennessee Titans safety believes he squeezed all the motivation needed from that Twitter exchange, which fueled him throughout the offseason in his quest to be the NFL’s best in his third season.

“You could be All-Pro, no matter what, you still have guys, you still have things to prove,” Byard said Tuesday. “You still have to keep working.”

That Twitter exchange in March started after the Hall of Fame cornerback and now NFL Network analyst tabbed Tyrann Mathieu as the NFL’s top safety. Byard tweeted at Sanders , asking how he didn’t mention either of 2017’s All-Pro safeties. Sanders responded he knew who players and former players believe is the league’s best.

“You continue to be a fan and i will continue being the man,” Sanders wrote back to Byard on Twitter . Byard answered back that neither numbers nor film added up with Sanders overlooking Minnesota’s Harrison Smith Reuben Foster Jersey , Earl Thomas of Seattle and Kansas City’s Eric Berry.

Support flowed in on Twitter for Byard from Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey , Ravens safety Eric Weddle and Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward .

Byard’s numbers in 2017 speak for themselves.

He led the NFL with 10 total takeaways and tied for the league lead with a career-high eight interceptions and 87 total tackles to earn All-Pro honors along with his first Pro Bowl berth. He had the most interceptions by a player for this franchise since Richard Johnson had eight picks in 1990 for the then-Houston Oilers.

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees has coached safeties such as Ed Reed in his career. He’s not looking to compare Byard to anyone, but Pees has made clear how impressed he is by Byard’s hard work, leadership and professionalism.

“He’ll come in and tell me, we always try to keep ahead of them and let them know what’s coming in in the next day, and he’ll come back the next day and have a question on something we haven’t even covered yet, which tells me then he’s doing all the right things,” Pees said.

Byard had eight of the Titans’ 12 interceptions last season, and the secondary has been working together since March with the target of being the NFL’s best group.

Tennessee added cornerback Malcolm Butler to the group as a free agent, then lost safety Johnathan Cyprien last week with a torn ACL.

All the chemistry Byard and Cyprien had been working on over the past year and half now is gone. The Titans signed veteran Kenny Vaccaro on Saturday to replace Cyprien, and Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Byard will play a critical role in helping Vaccaro get in sync with the secondary. The Titans open the preseason Thursday night at Green Bay.

He’s already seen Byard meeting individually with Dane Cruikshank in training camp to help the rookie learn, impressive to see in a young player.

“Kevin has taken on a really nice leadership role with our team Adidas P.K Subban Jersey ,” Vrabel said. “He started in the offseason with his ability to come in here and work and be diligent in his training, continued by his studying and learning the defense and being able to explain it to guys.”

The 5-foot-11, 212-pound Byard was the first pick of the third round in 2016 out of Middle Tennessee. Now the safety who’s always been confident in what he can do believes he can do even more in the NFL.

“I feel like I barely scratched the surface with my potential,” Byard said.

“And I just want to keep getting better. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the team and I want to be able to bring everybody along because you know I could be All-Pro and all that stuff. But we’re not winning games, we’re not winning championships, it really doesn’t matter in my opinion.”

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