If last Sunday's setback against Tom Brady at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers felt like a moral victory for the Patriots, this week's triumph over the Houston Texans could go down as one of the ugliest wins in recent memory.
Still, at a time when New England couldn't afford a loss, the Patriots got back into the win column with a 25-22 road victory over Houston to hold off the buzzards for at least another week in moving to 2-3.
Nick Folk kicked a game-winning 21-yard field goal with 0:15 left on the clock, one of four successful attempts on the afternoon which included a pair of 52-yard makes.
Mac Jones completed 23 of 30 passes for 231 yards, a touchdown and an interception for New England.
But in falling behind 22-9 against one of the worst rosters in the NFL, the Patriots appeared on the verge of a clunker of epic proportions following last week's solid showing against the Bucs.
Damien Harris, who had rushed for a touchdown for the Patriots earlier in the game, lost yet another fumble just shy of crossing the goal line on a run which would have tied the game at 12-12.
New England's defense was simply atrocious against Texans rookie quarterback Davis Mills, the eighth passer taken this past April. Mills torched the Patriots to the tune of 311 yards through the air on 21 of 29 passing and three touchdowns, including one which capped off a game-opening 18-play, 79-yard drive which consumed 10:06 of game clock.
The next touchdown for Mills, a 67-yard strike to Chris Moore, came at the expense of J.C. Jackson and Devin McCourty in coverage.
Mills hit Chris Conley for a 37-yard score with 13:37 to go in the third quarter before New England finally tightened up defensively, but also took advantage of lackluster play calling and poor clock management from Houston.
A 0-yard punt for the Texans' Cameron Johnston late in the third quarter, which had been kicked into the back of his offensive line, led to a Folk field goal which trimmed New England's deficit to 22-12.
The Patriots followed up another Houston punt with another Folk field goal to get within 22-15 and after a missed 56-yard field goal from Ka'imi Fairbarin, Jones orchestrated a scoring drive which culminated with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Henry with 9:31 left.
The Patriots return to Gillette Stadium next Sunday to host the Dallas Cowboys at 4:25 p.m.