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Sunday, January 13, 2013
The stats that tell the story of Pats-Texans

By ESPN Stats & Information

The Houston Texans elected to pursue New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady with nearly the same fervor that they did when the Patriots clobbered them in Week 14.

And on Sunday they paid a similar price.

Brady was 12 for 19 for 208 yards and two touchdowns against five or more pass rushers, as part of a 344-yard, three-touchdown day. As you can see in the chart on the right, it mimicked his performance in Week 14.

Brady passed Joe Montana for most postseason starts won with his 17th.

He’ll tie Montana for the most conference championship game starts when he faces the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship next Sunday. He also joined Montana and Brett Favre as the only quarterbacks with at least 40 postseason touchdown passes.

Brady wasn’t the only one to have a huge game in the Patriots' 41-28 win. Let’s take a look at some of the other statistical highlights.

* Vereen leads ground game: Patriot running backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen combined for 219 total yards (48 percent of the Patriots offense) and four touchdowns, showcasing an inside running game the Patriots haven’t had in recent postseason appearances.

Nearly all (113) of their 123 rushing yards came inside the tackles, an average of more than six per rush. In the previous three postseasons, Patriots running backs averaged only 3.5 yards when running inside the tackles.

The Elias Sports Bureau noted that Vereen became the third player in NFL postseason history with two touchdown receptions and a touchdown run in a postseason game. He joins Roger Craig (1984 San Francisco 49ers) and Ricky Watters (1994 49ers), each of whom did so in a Super Bowl.

Vereen also tied the Patriots record for most touchdowns in a postseason game, matching a mark previously set by Curtis Martin and Rob Gronkowski.

Vereen collected 58 receiving yards and two receptions and a touchdown when lined up wide, only the third touchdown for a running back lined up wide this season, and the most such receiving yards for a RB in a game over the last three seasons in any game.

* Schaub struggles on third down: Matt Schaub was 7 of 12 for 71 yards and an interception on third down Sunday, converting only three of the attempts for first downs. In the Week 14 matchup against the Patriots, Schaub converted only one of his seven third down pass attempts for a first down.

* Welker comes up big: Wes Welker’s 131 receiving yards were a career-high, surpassing his previous best of 103
in Super Bowl XLII against the Giants.

Welker entered the game with a league-high 669 yards after the catch. He had 62 in this game.

With eight catches Welker also broke the Patriots postseason record for career receptions, his 61 surpassing Troy Brown’s record of 58.

* Brady effective with 2-plus tight ends after Gronk injury: Even though Rob Gronkowski left the game with 8:10 left in the first quarter, Tom Brady was still very effective with two or more tight ends on the field. Brady threw for a season-high 244 yards and tied a season-high with three touchdowns with two or more tight ends after Gronkowski’s injury. The Patriots used multiple tight end sets on 56-of-65 plays (86.2 percent), their second-highest percentage of the season.

* Patriots continue red zone success: The Patriots used their up-tempo offense effectively, especially in the red zone, scoring four touchdowns in five possessions (not counting possession with kneel down). During the regular season, they scored a touchdown on 70 percent of their red zone possessions, the highest rate in the NFL.

* Looking ahead: Patriots-Ravens will be the first AFC Championship rematch since the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns faced each other in both 1986 and 1987.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis will face the Patriots in Foxborough for the seventh time. He’s 0-4 against them in the regular season, 1-1 in the postseason.

Compiled by ESPN Stats & Information’s Bobby Greenhalgh, Doug Clawson, Joey Koontz and Michael Bonzagni.