FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Jacoby Brissett wasn't perfect in his first NFL start Thursday night.
He didn't have to be.
The Patriots' rookie quarterback got plenty of help from his offensive line, his defense and the sloppy Houston Texans in New England's 27-0 rout at Gillette Stadium.
"I think he handled himself great, last week, this week, all week, every day," New England coach Bill Belichick said after Brissett ran a bootleg for a 27-yard touchdown and the defense pitched the team's first shutout since Dec. 30, 2012.
"He's done nothing but come in here and work as hard as he possibly can. We had three quarterbacks, (and he had) to take his opportunities and learn from the other two guys ...
"This week it was pretty much all him. He's just a hard-working kid that is really dedicated to doing what's right for the team and trying to improve anything you tell him."
The Patriots improved to 3-0 during Tom Brady's four-game Deflategate absence.
Brissett, who replaced the injured Jimmy Garoppolo in the first half Sunday, capped his scoring run an elusive power move near the goal line, making it 10-0 in the first quarter. He then ran to the sideline and gave Belichick the ball.
"Make sure (the Texans) don't get it. Make sure we get it. So I gave it to him," said Brissett, who confirmed that Belichick gave it back to him after the game.
The Texans (2-1) fumbled away two kickoffs, leading to two New England touchdowns, and were also guilty of an interception. LeGarrette Blount scored from a yard out in the third quarter and broke a 41-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. Blount finished with 105 yards on 24 carries.
Stephen Gostkowski kicked two short field goals.
"We got smoked," said Texans nose tackle Vince Wilfork, a longtime Patriot. "We played (expletive), that's the thought."
Added Houston defensive end J.J. Watt, who was in on only two tackles, "The Patriots played a great football game. We didn't play well, we didn't do a good job in any category. We got outplayed."
The Patriots' defense, stung for 389 Ryan Tannehill passing yards in the final three quarters Sunday during a 31-24 win over the Miami Dolphins, responded with a strong effort that included linebacker Jamie Collins' second interception in a span of five days. Collins also was in on 14 tackles.
"We knew Jacoby was going to be all right," said Patriots safety Devin McCourty, meaning he knew that if the defense did its job the results would be there -- and Houston was shut out for the first time in the regular season in 13 years. "We just did a good game of executing our game plan like we wanted to, and it led us to a win."
Brissett, 6 of 9 in his debut Sunday, was 11 of 19 for 103 yards passing and ran for 48 yards on eight carries Thursday. The touchdown run was the second longest by a New England quarterback since 1976.
Houston's Charles James and rookie Tyler Ervin fumbled the kickoffs, while quarterback Brock Osweiler threw the interception.
The Patriots forced seven turnovers in five days going back to Sunday.
Osweiler, who handed the Patriots their first loss last season when he made his second NFL start with the Denver Broncos, was 24 of 41 for 196 yards.
Lamar Miller ran for 80 yards on 21 carries in the loss.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, making his 2106 debut after missing two games due to a hamstring injury, played sparingly and didn't have a catch.
Blount has four touchdowns in three games. It was the 12th 100-yard game of his career, his second in five days.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels designed a scheme that included running plays for wide receiver Julian Edelman (three carries, 14 yards) and tight end Martellus Bennett (one for 6) and even option plays for Brissett, a third-round pick this year.
"This whole week our coaching staff did a tremendous job," Belichick said.
In improving to 6-1 against the Texans, the Patriots recorded the 226th regular-season victory of Belichick's career, tying him with Curly Lambeau for fourth place on the all-time list.
NOTES: New England P Ryan Allen boomed seven punts for a 47.6-yard average, six landing inside the 20, and the Texans had 0 return yards on them. ... The Patriots were still missing LB Dont'a Hightower (knee). ... Texans TE Ryan Griffin had eight catches for 52 yards, while the Houston defense was led by LB Benardrick McKinney, who was in on 16 tackles, including a sack. ... Houston TE Stephen Anderson left with a hamstring injury. ... Quarterbacks are 6-0 in their starting debuts under Bill Belichick. ... The Patriots have won 10 of their past 11 Thursday games, while Houston is 2-6 on Thursday, losing its past four. ... Houston P Shane Lechler played in his 225th consecutive game, the longest active streak in the NFL. ... Texans OT Duane Brown had his fist raised during the national anthem.