After two consecutive losses, the Patriots made relatively easy work of the Houston Texans, beating them 27-6.
Although they won the game handily, "relatively" is perhaps an important qualifier, as they continued to lose key players to injuries. Star tight end Rob Gronkowski made a triumphant return, but running back LeGarrette Blount went down, as did safety Devin McCourty, defensive lineman Dominique Easley and linebacker Jonathan Freeny.
Tom Brady completed 22 of 30 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns, and was sacked three times.
Before his injury, Blount added 53 rushing yards. Brandon Bolden had 51 of his own, with New England combining for 116 on the ground.
Gronkowski made four catches, but Brady did not miss when he targeted him, and the big tight end had 87 yards and a touchdown.
Former Patriots backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, Houston's starter, went 11 of 22 with 155 yards and no touchdowns before exiting late in the game due to concussion protocol.
The Patriots now sit at 11-2. They will look to make it a dozen wins next week against the Tennessee Titans.