Many people came into the Texans-Patriots matchup with the expectation that New England would very easily win the game. It turns out that would be the final outcome, but for a while in the second quarter, Houston tried to make it close.
Over in the NFC we had a closely played, nail biting game, but the Patriots rolled the Houston Texans in the second half of their matchup in the AFC to close out the Texans 41-28 to set up a rematch of the 2012 AFC Championship game with the Baltimore Ravens. But while New England pretty easily took care of the Texans after halftime, the win wasn’t without collateral damage.
Sure the Patriots are moving on to he AFC Championship game and are a game away from their second consecutive Super Bowl berth, but they’ll be doing it without the services of Rob Gronkowski who needs surgery to repair his forearm. Gronkowski rushed back form surgery back in November to play in Week 17 and then again this week but he was biting off more than he could chew.
Danny Woodhead also left the game after the first snap of the game for the Patriots and didn’t return.
This opened the door for Shane Vereen to have just a monster day on the ground, both catching and running for a touchdown on the day. Vereen ended up accounting for 21 of the Patriots final 41 points in the game.
The Houston Texans scored 10 points in the final 75 seconds of the first half, but the Patriots came out on the other half of the break on a roll. Tom Brady lead his team down field three times to score 21 unanswered points before Houston could catch their breath.
After that, Houston tried to get back into it by scoring 15 straight points, but it just wasn’t enough to catch Brady’s boys. The magic that Houston captured at the end of the first half couldn’t be recaptured the rest of the game.
For the second straight season the Texans are going home a week after beating the Cincinnati Bengals, and for the second straight year the Patriots and Ravens will be meeting for a shot at the Super Bowl. Last year it was a kickers difference that kept the Ravens out of the Super Bowl, but this year the momentum coming out of Baltimore is just too incredible to ignore.
But in that same breath, the elite talent awaiting them in New England might be too incredible to beat.