Here are some notes at intermission:
Patriots Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker is on a roll with six receptions for 120 yards. Welker set a new Patriots record with 59 career postseason receptions. The Texans don't seem to have an answer for Welker.
New England may have to play the rest of the game without Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski. He re-injured his arm in the first quarter and did not return in the first half. Gronkowski fell on his arm while making a catch out of bounds. Gronkowski was in obvious pain before going into the locker room. The Patriots announced Gronkowski’s return is questionable.
The Patriots started backup tailback Danny Woodhead. That is interesting because Stevan Ridley is the team’s leading rusher and started most of the season. But Woodhead is more dependable. The Patriots are still learning to trust Ridley and fellow second-year tailback Shane Vereen. Woodhead injured his thumb in the first quarter, and Vereen stepped up. He has 85 total yards and two total touchdowns.
As expected, the Patriots have put No. 1 corner Aqib Talib on Texans receiver Andre Johnson for most of the first half. Johnson has made some nice catches and has four receptions for 54 yards. Talib has recorded seven tackles and hasn’t allowed any big passing plays in the first half.