Originally posted on Patriots Extra  |  Last updated 1/13/13
Welcome to the playoffs, Shane Vereen.  New England's forgotten second-year tailback—who was drafted 17 spots ahead of Stevan Ridley in 2011—stole the show Sunday evening, piling up 124 total yards and three touchdowns in New England's 41-28 thrashing of the Houston Texans in the Divisional Round.  The speedster out of California proved to be the X-factor for the Patriots, who lost star tight end Rob Gronkowski for the rest of the playoffs after the Pro Bowler re-injured his forearm.  Vereen and Ridley picked up the slack and helped the Patriots reach the AFC Championship for the second consecutive season.  Not to be lost in the win was New England's defense, which held Matt Schaub to a paltry 6.5 yards per completion and mostly bottled up Arian Foster (22 carries for 90 yards).  Although the loss of Gronkowski certainly doesn't help the Patriots' Super Bowl chances, the fact they dropped 40+ points on the Texans again highlights their versatility, resiliency and...
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