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, ...