Posted January 13, 2013 on AP on Fox
Shane Vereen scored on a 1-yard run and the New England Patriots overcame a 94-yard return by Danieal Manning on the opening kickoff to take a 7-3 lead over the Houston Texans after the first quarter of their AFC divisional playoff game Sunday. Manning's kickoff set up Shayne Graham's 27-yard field goal just 1:03 into the game. The Patriots had two players injured with running back Danny Woodhead hurting his thumb after carrying the ball on the Patriots' first offensive play and tight end Rob Gronkowski going to the locker room with an arm injury midway through the period. Gronkowski was playing his second game since breaking his left forearm. Houston's early score was in stark contrast to its first game against New England, a 42-14 loss in which the Texans trailed 21-0 at halftime. After the kickoff return gave them the ball at the Patriots 12-yard line, they struggled to move it. Arian Foster ran 3 yards and Matt Schaub threw two incompletions before Graham, a former Patriot, connected. The Patriots (12-4) had early troubles on offense, punting on their first two possessions. Tom Brady was sacked once, with NFL sacks leader J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed sharing credit for it. In the first meeting with the Texans (13-4), Brady threw touchdown passes on the Patriots' first three possessions. He got the Patriots moving on their third series after a poor punt by Donnie Jones gave them the ball at their 35. Stevan Ridley rushed 14 yards on the first play, then lost 2 on the next. Brady then connected on three straight passes: 13 yards to Ridley, 25 to Vereen and 14 to Aaron Hernandez. Vereen then scored on the next play. The winner of Sunday's game will host the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC championship game next Sunday. New England's victory over Houston in Foxborough on Dec. 10 began the Texans' stretch of three losses in their last four regular-season games that cost them a playoff bye and home-field advantage. But Houston beat the Cincinnati Bengals 19-13 in a wild-card game to advance to Sunday's rematch, the first playoff meeting between the Texans and Patriots. AFC East champion New England had a first-round bye and is the top remaining AFC seed after the No. 1 Denver Broncos lost to the No. 4 Ravens 38-35 in double overtime on Saturday. --- Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES
WHY PLAY? JUST DANCE

Brandon Spikes breaks out fumble dance

Brandon Spikes is a solid NFL linebacker, a controversial Twitter user and, apparently, quite the dancer. Spikes busted a move during the third quarter of Sunday’s divisional round showdown at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots linebacker obviously was very excited about the idea of New England recovering a fumble in Texans territory. Unfortunately for Spikes, the officials determined...

Belichick, Patriots await Gronkowski update

Patriots coach Bill Belichick is providing no update on injured tight end Rob Gronkowski. Belichick said during a conference call Monday that he had nothing to add to his comments following New England's 41-28 win over the Houston Texans in a divisional playoff game Sunday. He said then he wasn't sure if Gronkowski had broken his arm. Gronkowski needs season-ending surgery...

Divisional Round Risers and Fallers: Shane Vereen Shines as Pats Seal Rematch with Ravens

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...

Danny Woodhead Leaves with Thumb Injury

Patriots running back Danny Woodhead injured his thumb early in Sunday's game against the Texans. His return is questionable.Fantasy Spin:Woodhead is usually used as a slot receiver and an occasional change of pace halfback out of the backfield. Shane Vereen will have to pick up the slack if Woodhead is unable to return.

New England Patriots get (mostly) high marks in divisional playoffs win

Tom Brady proved his mettle once again, becoming the NFL’s all-time postseason wins leader (Getty/ Wickerham) Three times the Patriots have hosted the Houston Texans in Foxboro.  Three times the Patriots have won big.  Final scores of 40-7 (2006), 42-14 (2012), and 41-28 (2012 playoffs) are impressive, but the latest triumph wasn’t as easy as that last margin suggests thanks...

Patriots: Stepping Up!

Patriots RB Shane Vereen and TE Aaron Hernandez had a breakout game vs the Texans Sunday in Foxboro. New England rolled 41-28 by leaning on these two key playmakers.

Report: Rob Gronkowski Will Miss Remainder of Playoffs After Reinjuring Forearm

If the Patriots are to hoist the Lombardi Trophy this year, they’ll have to get the job done without Rob Gronkowski. According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, Gronkowski reinjured his forearm during the first quarter of Sunday’s divisional round playoff game against the Texans. The injury will reportedly require surgery, and the Pro Bowl tight end will miss the rest of...

AP Source: Pats TE Gronkowski has surgery on arm

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has undergone surgery on his broken left arm, a person with knowledge of the operation tells The Associated Press. Gronkowski suffered the season-ending injury Sunday when he caught a pass from Tom Brady in the first quarter and landed out of bounds on the arm for an incompletion in New England's 41-28 playoff win over the Houston Texans. The...

Brandon Spikes Had a Pretty Awesome Turnover Celebration

The New England Patriots took care of the Houston Texans yesterday with little resistance, winning the game 41-28.  Brandon Spikes was quite happy when the Patriots recovered a fumble and decided to let everyone know.  His wave style first down signal pretty much made my day. Can't wait for that Ravens vs. Pats game next Sunday.  #BradyIsASurgeon Check out our Home Page...

Pats' Gronkowski, Woodhead hurt vs. Texans

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has left Sunday's playoff game against the Houston Texans with an apparent injury to the left arm that kept him out five games during the regular season. Running back Danny Woodhead also went out in the first quarter, leaving after the first play with a thumb injury. Gronkowski broke his left forearm blocking for an extra point...

Mentally tough Patriots only look ahead

In his postgame conference yesterday, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady lauded his teams mental toughness. Here's the quote; "Yeah. I think that’s been the mark of our team. We’ve won 11 of 12. We were down 31-3 at home and battled back. I think we’re going to be in it. We have a lot of tough guys, mentally tough guys. Whatever happens, like what happened on the first...

Brendon Ayanbadejo Will Get Targeted by Patriots Special Teamers After Critical Twitter Comments (Video)

On Sunday night while the Patriots were trampling the Texans at Gillette Stadium, Brendon Ayanbadejo was sitting at home stewing while watching New England’s no huddle offense. That’s when the Ravens’ special teamer took to Twitter to air his grievances with the Patriots’ hurry-up ways. Unfortunately, he likely did more harm than good for Baltimore by pointing out what he...

Patriots take care of Texans

It’s weird. Without Rob Gronkowski and Danny Woodhead the Patriots and Tom Brady looked inconsistent passing the ball. Brady forced too many balls to Welker that bounced off his arm and Aaron Hernandez dropped a catch or two. Then I notice that Brady still threw for 344 yards and they scored 41 points. Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, Daniel Manning and J.J. Watt all had really good...

Gronkowski Update: Tight End has surgery on forearm

On the face of things, this weekend couldn't have gone much better for the New England Patriots. A comfortable victory to get the play-offs started over the Houston Texans, preceded by an upset in the form of the Baltimore Ravens win over the Denver Broncos, meaning another game at Gillette, with everything on the line. However, there is a big smear on the weekend. When Rob...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.