Wrap-up: Texans 34, Patriots 27

Ladies and gentleman, allow me to re-introduce to you New England Patriots rookie Julian Edelman.

Forget the final score of what essentially was a meaningless regular-season finale (for the record, the Houston Texans won 34-27), the real significance of what happened Sunday afternoon in Reliant Stadium was the loss of Patriots slot receiver Wes Welker.

The MVP candidate twisted his left leg in the first quarter, and it looked bad. Welker needed help to the sideline, where he buried his face in a towel and was carted to the locker room.

Likely carted off with him were his NFL-leading 123 receptions, an eye-popping number made even more impressive by the fact Welker missed a couple games in September.

So what will the Patriots do next weekend in the playoffs? They were going to host a wild-card opponent in Gillette Stadium regardless of Sunday's outcome.

Edelman will have to rise up and do his best Welker impersonation. Edelman gave it a go Sunday. The converted quarterback from Kent State had a game-high 10 receptions for 103 yards.

Not a bad Welker impersonation at all. Edelman went into the game with one catch for 28 yards over the previous five weeks.

Presumably to work on their mojo, Bill Belichick reinserted Brady into the lineup after pulling him late in the first half. Brady finished with 17 completions on 28 attempts for 186 yards and no touchdowns with an interception.

Belichick scratched running backs Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk before the game. The other backs didn't fare well, combining for 64 yards on 18 carries. Sammy Morris ran seven times for 9 yards.

Fred Taylor ran seven times for 33 yards and two touchdowns.