Found January 13, 2013 on Boston's Bettah:
Stevan Ridley kicks in the door for a touchdown in Sunday’s win I usually like to find a key to a football game. Sometimes it is a player that went above and beyond what is expected of him to have a big day. For the New England Patriots on Sunday, that would be second-year running back Shane Vareen who quickly became a match-up nightmare for the Houston Texans. In his replacement of normal Patriots scat-back Danny Woodhead, who rushed for 41 yards on 7 carries as well as 5 catches for 83 yards. His three touchdowns (one on the ground and two through the air) were a big reason that the Patriots were able to put up 41 points. Wes Welker also played very-well with 141 yards on 8 catches and a couple of drive extending catches for the New England Patriots. Units can also be a key for teams. On Sunday, the Patriots defense was huge for them. It was evident after the very first play of the game when the Texans got a huge kickoff return and started their drive inside the Patriots’ red-zone. On that drive, they held the Texans to three points. Even as the Patriots offense struggled early on, the defense held strong and kept the Patriots up in a game where they could have fallen down quickly. On that side of the ball, the shout-outs go to corner-back Aqib Talib who played excellent cover corner on Texans top wide-out Andre Johnson, line-backer Jerrod Mayo who flew around the field making tackles and hits, and Rob Ninkovich, whose interception in the third quarter shifted the momentum back in the favor of the Patriots when it could have shifted back in favor of the Texans. In reality though, the defense has a whole was a strength for the team, especially the run defense as they held Arian Foster to 90 yards rushing. Maybe that’s why it is tough to pick a “key” to this game. Outside of the special-teams and Kyle Arrington, the entire Patriots team played a pretty complete game. After talk all week about how this game was not going to be the same as the one a month ago, it almost played out that way. The start wasn’t as fast for the Patriots and the Texans made it interesting down the stretch, but the Patriots were up 38-13 at one point in the game and it felt pretty much over after that. Basically, the Patriots limited their mistakes, caused the Texans to make a couple and they made the plays they had to including a couple of big ones. In reality, that is the recipe for success in the post-season, and the Patriots played it on Sunday. Now they get a date with the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC Championship rematch no one really saw coming. Two more wins for number four.
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