Texans fall to Patriots, 41-28

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The Houston Texans lost to the New England Patriots Sunday in the AFC divisional playoff game, ending the Texans' 2012 season.

The Texans came out strong with a 94-yard return by Danieal Manning on the opening kickoff. Houston got on the scoreboard first with a 27-yard field goal with 13:57 left in the first quarter to make it 3-0.

With 1:38 left in the first quarter, Shane Vereen got the Patriots on the board with a 1-yard touchdown. The Patriots led 7-3.

A 27-yard field goal in the second quarter widened the Patriots lead to 10-3 with 10:16 remaining before halftime.

Tom Brady connected on an 8-yard pass to Vereen for the Patriots second touchdown in the game, bringing the lead to 17-3 with 3:38 left in the second quarter.

Arian Foster scored a 1-yard touchdown with 1:15 left in the second quarter. Foster has scored a touchdown in four straight playoff games.

Kicker Shayne Graham scored a career-long 55-yard field goal with 2 seconds remaining in the second quarter. The Texans scored 10 points in the final 75 seconds of the first half.

At the half, the Texans trailed the Patriots 17-13.

The Patriots came back with a purpose in the second half, scoring touchdown after touchdown.

With 11:30 remaining in the third quarter, the Patriots' Stevan Ridley scored an 8-yard touchdown, bringing the score to 24-13.

New England's Brandon Lloyd scored a 5-yard touchdown with 1:21 left in the third quarter, widening the lead to 31-13.

Brady threw a third touchdown pass for 33 yards early in the fourth quarter, giving the Patriots a 38-13 lead.

The Texans' DeVier Posey scored a 25-yard touchdown, bringing the score to 38-20 with 11:35 left in the game.

Foster scored a 1-yard touchdown and Andre Johnson jumped to catch the 2-point conversion, giving the Texans 8 points. With 5:11 remaining in the fourth quarter, the score was 38-28.

Stephen Gostkowski made a 38-yard field goal to put the Patriots up 41-28 with 1:14 left in the game.

Tom Brady became the winningest quarterback in postseason play. Brady got his 17th victory, surpassing his childhood hero, Joe Montana, by throwing for 344 yards. Seldom-used running back Shane Vereen scored three times, twice on receptions.

If Brady can lead the Patriots (13-4) past Baltimore (12-6) in next Sunday's conference title game, then win the Super Bowl, he'll equal the 49ers' Hall of Famer for NFL championships.

The Patriots and Ravens are meeting for the AFC title for the second straight year. Baltimore, which stunned top-seeded Denver in double overtime Saturday, lost 23-20 at Gillette Stadium last January.

Copyright 2012 by Click2Houston.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.