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Things went haywire right at the start for Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson failed to complete the handoff to Lamar Miller on the Texans’ first play, turning it over to the Patriots.Charles Krupa/AP

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FOXBOROUGH — Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, playing in his first game since tearing his ACL in practice last November, struggled to knock the rust off his game in Sunday’s 27-20 loss to the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

On his first snap, miscommunication with tailback Lamar Miller resulted in a fumble, which was recovered by Dont’a Hightower at the 19.

Related: Patriots breakdown: The highs, lows, and everything in between

After a false-start penalty on third and 7, Brady hit Rob Gronkowski with a 21-yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 lead just 1:08 in.


“Adversity just hit on the first play, and we just had to overcome it,’’ Watson said. “We had the opportunity to do that.’’

Watson finished 17 of 34 for 176 yards and a TD as Houston fell into a 21-6 hole at the half before chipping away at the deficit down the stretch.

“The defense did a heck of a job of keeping us in the game and not letting the the offense blow the game away, and they gave us opportunities,” said Watson, who was in the trainer’s room after the game receiving an IV for cramps. “We just didn’t capitalize, especially in the red zone. We’ve just got to get back to the drawing board.’’

According to Patriots safety Duron Harmon, Watson hasn’t lost a step.

“You couldn’t tell that man had an ACL tear from last year,’’ Harmon lauded. “He’s a tremendous athlete, tremendous quarterback, and they’re lucky to have him.’’

More coverage:

Gasper: After offseason drama, it’s still the same ol’ Patriots

Sullivan: The Patriots’ defense had a confident start, unlike last year’s season opener

Volin: Even in victory, Patriots not overly impressed with their performance


Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski missed OTAs, but they didn’t miss a beat in the opener

Five-year contract reportedly among reasons McDaniels stayed with Patriots

Things went haywire right at the start for Deshaun Watson

Rob Gronkowski said he wants to remain a Patriot, then he went out and played like it