|NFL free agency update: Ed Reed’s deal with Texans for 3 years, $15 million||03.22.13 at 1:09 pm ET|
After prolonged negotiations, safety Ed Reed was introduced as a Texan on Friday, signing a three-year, $15 million deal with $5 million guaranteed.
The nine-time Pro Bowl safety reportedly had been hoping for a longer-term contract but eventually agreed on three years with Houston after spending the first 11 years of his career in Baltimore.
Reed is the Ravens’ franchise leader in interceptions, with 61, and his 1,541 return yards off of those pickoffs is an NFL career record. He helped the Ravens beat the Patriots in the AFC championship — a possible reason for the Texans’ interest in him, since they were eliminated from the playoffs by the Patriots.
“I know already what they want to do, and that’s win a championship. I came here to do that,” Reed said at his introductory press conference as a Texan. “Houston already has the attributes. I pray and hope I am the attribute needed to take us to the next level.”
• The Steelers, Ravens and Broncos are the main teams still in play for Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil, according to ProFootballTalk.com. Baltimore and Denver are reported to be the frontrunners.
Those same teams are also looking at Colts defensive end/linebacker Dwight Freeney, and whichever team doesn’t get Dumervil is likely to compete with the Steelers for Freeney.
Denver would like to retain Dumervil, but he and his agent reportedly are hesitant to accept the lower offer the Broncos made him after his attempt to re-sign was derailed by a fax sent too late.
|Aaron Hernandez: ‘Hard to replace a freak of nature’ in Rob Gronkowski||01.13.13 at 11:23 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots have been through this before. Rob Gronkowski is likely lost for the playoffs after re-breaking his left forearm in Sunday’s 41-28 win over the Texans in an AFC divisional game at Gillette Stadium.
“It’s hard to replace a player like him because he’s a freak of nature,” Aaron Hernandez said afterward. “Everyone has to step up and everyone has to keep making plays so we can keep it rolling.”
Hernandez was one Patriots offensive player to step up, contributing with a 40-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter that led to a touchdown that put the Patriots up, 24-13, and put the Patriots on their way. Hernandez finished with six catches for 85 yards.
“It definitely helps me out because so much attention is on him,” Hernandez said. “But like I said, everyone has to step up. It’s a big loss and you can’t replace a player like him.”
Also, stepping up after the first-quarter injury to Gronk was Wes Welker, with eight catches and 131 yards, 120 of them coming in the first half. Shane Vereen stepped up with a record-tying performance as he had three touchdowns (two receiving, one rushing).
“He’s done it in practice and he’s the person that works hard and does his job,” Hernandez said of Vereen. “When his number was called, he made a play and showed what type of player he is tonight.”
Now, it’s on to the Ravens and a rematch of last season’s AFC championship.
“It’s an honor,” Hernandez said. “We still have one more to go to get to the big dance. So we’ve got to keep playing and come to play next week.”
FOXBORO — Before Sunday’s Patriots-Texans divisional-round matchup, Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt was spotted spitting on the Gillette Stadium center logo and wiping his feet off on the Flying Elvis before sitting down to stretch.
Twitter began circulating the news after this original tweet from WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia. It was unclear if Watt meant to disrespect the organization or to fire his team up. Watt confirmed after the game that he did spit on the logo, but he said it isn’t an uncommon routine for him, and he meant no disrespect.
“I do that every game, home or away,” Watt said. “I go out to midfield, I jog out there, spit a little bit, wipe my feet off, and then I go through my stretches. No drama there, that’s 100 percent what I do every game, home or away.”
After the game, Watt said that the Texans entered the locker room at halftime feeling pretty good about scoring 10 unanswered points, but the momentum didn’t carry over to the second half.
“We didn’t play a good game, and they played a very good game,” he said. “They are moving on and we are not. We came in here at halftime feeling pretty good; obviously the long field goal by Shayne [Graham] was a heck of a kick. We came out in the second half and didn’t perform and it is plain and simple. We just didn’t do the things we needed to to do to win.”
Watt finished with four total tackles on the night (one solo), with half a sack, one tackle for loss, and one quarterback hit.
The inability to get pressure on Tom Brady frustrated the Texans defense, especially Watt, who has a total of eight total tackles against the Patriots this season in two games, and no passes defensed.
“He is a very good football player, and a heck of a quarterback,” he said. “Obviously he is one of the best for a reason. We needed to hit him and we needed to knock some balls down, and we didn’t do that and we lost. Obviously all we can do is move forward.”
Watt and the Texans end their season for the second straight year in the divisional playoff round.
“It is really frustrating, because have been here before and you don’t want to get back to where you have been before,” he said. “You want to move on and you want to get better and move forward, and we didn’t do that. We are going to come into next season extremely strong and we are not going to wait to get back to work.”
FOXBORO — WEEI.com Patriots reporters Mike Petraglia and Chris Price break down the Patriots’ 41-28 win over the Texans in Sunday’s AFC divisional game at Gillette Stadium.
Shane Vereen tied a franchise playoff record with three touchdowns and Tom Brady threw three TD passes as the Patriots did the expected and beat the Texans, 41-28, in their AFC divisional game at Gillette Stadium. Wes Welker caught eight passes for 131 yards and Brady passed Joe Montana for most wins (17) by a quarterback in NFL playoff history. Brady, who finished 25-of-40 for 344 yards, is now 17-6 all-time in the postseason.
The win sets up the first AFC championship rematch since the Broncos and Browns in 1986-87. The Patriots will host the Ravens next Sunday evening at 6:30 at Gillette Stadium.
The three touchdowns by Vereen tied the franchise playoff record for touchdowns in a single game, held by Rob Gronkowski and Curtis Martin.
The Patriots special teams were bad from the beginning. Danieal Manning returning the opening kickoff 94 yards to the Patriots 12 yard line. But the Patriots defense held Matt Schaub and the Texans to just three yards and a 27-yard field goal from Shayne Graham.
The Patriots got the ball and went three-and-out, and lost Danny Woodhead to a left thumb injury on their first offensive play of the game. On the next drive, things got worse when the Patriots lost Rob Gronkowski when he appeared to re-injure his left forearm in trying to make a diving catch deep along the right sideline. Chandler Jones also injured his ankle in the first half and did not return.
The Patriots finally got momentum on the third drive, marching 65 yards in six plays. Vereen ran off left tackle for a 1-yard touchdown to give the Patriots a 7-3 lead late in the first. The Patriots made it 10-3 on a 37-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski early in the second quarter.
The Patriots appeared to gain full control of the game when they went 80 yards in seven plays for a 17-3 lead. Brady hit Vereen with an eight-yard pass to the short left for the touchdown. The key play on the drive was a Brady to Welker pass down the left sideline for 47 yards to the Houston 8. On the play, Welker caught his 59th postseason pass, passing Troy Brown for the all-time franchise lead.
Welker was huge in the first half, catching six balls for 120 yards
But the first half did not end well. On the ensuing kickoff following Vereen’s second touchdown, Manning returned it 35 yards to the Houston 38. Gostkowski committed a horse collar tackle that added 15 yards. Arian Foster later ran it in from two yards to cut the lead to 17-10. The Patriots got the ball back with 1:09 left and went three-and-out. The Texans got the ball back and managed a 55-yard field goal from Graham to cut New England’s lead to 17-13 at the half. Read the rest of this entry »
|Rob Gronkowski, Rob Ninkovich active for Patriots||at 3:09 pm ET|
FOXBORO — There were no major surprises on the Patriots inactives list released 90 minutes before their divisional playoff game with the Texans.
WR Kamar Aiken, DB Derrick Martin, DB Malcolm Williams, OL Nick McDonald, OL Markus Zusevics, TE Daniel Fells and rookie DE Jake Bequette comprise the list of seven players who will not be playing as part of the 46-man roster. This is just the fourth time this season Fells has been inactive and the first time since Week 11 against the Colts.
The Patriots took 15 of 20 players off their injury report on Friday while listing five others as probable. Four of the five, including Rob Gronkowski, Alfonzo Dennard and Marquice Cole are active for the game.
Likewise for the Texans, there were no surprises as OL Cody White, CB Stanford Routt, OL Antoine Caldwell, CB Roc Carmichael, NT Terrell McClain, LB Cameron Collins and OL Andrew Gardner were declared inactive.
For more, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/patriots.
On Dec. 10, all the breaks went New England’s way in a 42-14 romp over the Texans. Stevan Ridley‘s fumble in the opening minutes was recovered by Aaron Hernandez. Matt Schaub threw into double coverage and was intercepted by Devin McCourty. The Patriots raced out 21-0 in the first quarter and didn’t look back.
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