FOXBOROUGH –To say Shane Vereen had a career night on the football field would be an understatement.
The Patriots running back, now in his second season with New England, scored three touchdowns against the Texans, scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, an 8-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter and a 33-yard reception in the fourth quarter.
His three TDs overall ties a team postseason mark. Curtis Martin had three rushing touchdowns vs. the Steelers on Jan. 5, 1997 and Rob Gronkowski had three receiving TDs against the Broncos in last season’s AFC Divisional playoff game in Foxborough.
“It’s just good to have a team win,” Vereen said after the game, deflecting attention away from himself. “And to come out here to get it and to play the way that we did… people stepped up all over the board tonight and it was a good win for us.”
Although the Patriots advanced to the AFC Championship game against the Ravens for the second year in a row, the victory did not come without a cost. Rob Gronkowski is lost for the remainder of the postseason after re-injuring his forearm, Chandler Jones suffered an ankle injury, and running back Danny Woodhead left the game early with a thumb injury.
“We hate to lose Woody,” Vereen said when asked about overcoming the loss of a running back early in the game. “He’s such a key part of our offense but at the same time all the running backs hold ourselves accountable to be able to step up when somebody does go down.”