1. Shane Vereen – Filled in brilliantly for Danny Woodhead, especially in the passing game, where the Texans chose to put 250-pound Barrett Ruud on him for some reason. Ran 7 times for 41 yards. Added five catches for 83 more yards. Scored three TDs. His best game ever.
2. Stevan Ridley – Ran hard. Underused late, when the Pats should have been pounding the ball down J.J. Watt’s throat. Ran 15 times for 82 yards, and will be fresh for the Ravens next week.
3. Devin McCourty – Nah, he’s still solid at best in the secondary. But the hustle in the kicking game, running down Danieal Manning at the 12, was a four-point save.
4. Wes Welker – Yo, no Gronk tonight and he drew mega-coverage, yet somehow Wes Welker found a way to catch eight balls for 131 yards. Guy is unstoppable. Get the new deal done, Pats. Say, two years and $24 million, with $18 million guaranteed. He’s your glue.
5. Aaron Hernandez – Big performance when it mattered most, catching six balls for 85 yards. On his 40-yarder, it looked like the Texans DBs were drawing straws not to be the guy that had to hit him.
6. Tom Brady – Stood tall in the pocket and took a couple savage shots. Didn’t you get the feeling after the listless start that Brady just went to the bench and told his teammates that there’s no way they were losing to these chumps. Then he went out and grabbed the win, hitting 25 of 40 for 344 yards.
7. Rob Ninkovich – A pick, a QB hit, a tackle for loss, another pass defended and a key recovery of a 50-50 ball on a Texans onside kick. The guy was everywhere.
8. Zoltan Mesko – Averaged 52.8 and netted 49.4 yards on his five punts, with a pair backing the Texans inside the 20.
1. Aqib Talib – Is nine solo tackles a good thing for a cornerback? Only if you are playing Army or Navy and the option offense. Andre Johnson (8 for 95) wins the battles.