C.J. Fiedorowicz TE HOU (9) 18 hours ago
Fiedorowicz caught three of five targets for 36 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown, in Houston's 34-16 loss to New England in their divisional-round playoff game Saturday.
Fiedorowicz capped off the finest of his three-year career with his fifth touchdown catch. Pigeon-holed as a blocking tight end the first two years of his NFL career, Fiedorowicz busted out with 89 targets, 54 receptions, 559 yards and four touchdowns over 15 regular-season games. His elevation as a target was borne out of necessity as quarterback Brock Osweiler's rapport with his wideouts was fleeting. Osweiler still has one guaranteed year left on his contract and is the presumed starter next year. If the timing problems with wideouts DeAndre Hopkins or Will Fuller persist, Fiedorowicz has now proven he can handle a larger role.
Martellus Bennett TE NE (9) 18 hours ago
Bennett was on the field for 64 of the Patriots' 69 snaps on offense in Saturday's 34-16 playoff win over the Texans, ESPN's Mike Reiss reports. The tight end hauled in one of his four targets in the game for four yards.
Per the Boston Herald, Bennett -- who has battled through ankle and shoulder issues this season -- noted after Saturday's contest that he was fine after appearing to tweak his left knee in the fourth quarter. We'll have to see if the tight end's practice participation in advance of the AFC Championship game is impacted, but Bennett plans to continue to tough things out next weekend. "I've been fighting through (injuries) the whole year," said Bennett. "I'm not going to stop now. I'm getting too close to what my goal is in life."
DeAndre Hopkins WR HOU (9) 1 day ago
Hopkins snagged six of nine targets for 65 yards in Saturday's 34-16 divisional-round loss to the Patriots.
The fourth-year pro led the Texans in receptions, targets and yards on the night, turning in his second consecutive solid postseason performance. After enduring a disappointing statistical season that was heavily influenced by the struggles of Brock Osweiler behind center, Hopkins and his quarterback appeared to have improved rapport during Houston's two playoff games. The 24-year-old saw a combined 18 targets from Osweiler during the pair of postseason tilts, converting 11 of them into receptions, including one touchdown. The two will likely head into the offseason looking to put in some extra time, with the hopes of producing mutual bounce-back seasons in 2017.
Lamar Miller RB HOU (9) 1 day ago
Miller totaled 73 yards on 19 carries and secured four of seven targets for 16 yards in Saturday's 34-16 divisional-round loss to the Patriots.
The Texans were able to stick with the running game until late into the contest, as they surprisingly hung tough into the fourth quarter. Miller responded with another strong outing, and his four receptions tied him for second on the team with backfield mate Jonathan Grimes. Miller posted 73 yards apiece in each of Houston's two postseason contests, and he acquitted himself impressively with the career-high 268 carries he saw in 2016. The former Miami Hurricane topped the 1,000-yard mark for the second time in his career over 14 games, while also serving as a valuable part of the passing game with 31 receptions.
Brock Osweiler QB HOU (9) 1 day ago
Osweiler completed 23 of 40 passes for 198 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions in Saturday's 34-16 divisional-round loss to the Patriots. He gained 18 yards on his one rush.
As was the case in virtually every game he started in a considerably disappointing first season in Houston, Osweiler underwhelmed Saturday, and his mistakes ultimately sealed the Texans' fate. The fifth-year pro threw his first pick in the third quarter in New England territory at the 46-yard line, at a point in which the Texans were still facing a manageable 24-13 deficit. His most crucial miscue was the second one, however, as it came early in the fourth quarter after Houston had managed to pull within 24-16. Osweiler's throw down the middle for DeAndre Hopkins was plucked out of the air and returned to the Texans' six-yard line by Logan Ruyan, setting up a game-clinching one-yard touchdown run by Dion Lewis. The error-laden performance was in a way a fitting conclusion to Osweiler's 2016 campaign, one in which his career highs in multiple categories belied the ineffectiveness he displayed over 15 games.
LeGarrette Blount RB NE (9) 1 day ago
Blount carried just eight times for 31 yards in Saturday's 34-16 divisional-round victory over the Texans.
The bruising back had been removed from the injury report on Friday after missing the prior two practices with an illness, yet still ceded the majority of backfield work to Dion Lewis on the night. Blount did get a goal-line opportunity late in the first half, but was stuffed for no gain at the one-yard line. Blount then saw his last two carries on New England's final possession, and he managed to rip off an 18-yard gain to the Texans' 47-yard line that took the clock down to the two-minute warning. Saturday's usage may have simply been a case of the Patriots opting to play it safe with one of their most valuable commodities, and Blount could therefore be back to a much more customary workload in next Sunday's conference championship.
Julian Edelman WR NE (9) 1 day ago
Edelman hauled in eight of 13 targets for 137 yards in Saturday's 34-16 divisional-round victory over the Texans. He also gained 26 yards on four punt returns.
Edelman notched a six-yard catch on New England's first offensive play, his 69th postseason reception, which tied him with Wes Welker in franchise history. However, he was shut out from that point forward until hauling in a 48-yard bomb from Tom Brady on the Patriots' final possession before halftime. That seemed to reignite their prolific connection, as the future Hall of Fame quarterback proceeded to find Edelman six more times for 83 yards in the second half. Danny Amendola's return to the lineup from a high-ankle sprain did nothing to dilute Edelman's involvement, as his 13 targets were the most he'd seen since Week 11 against the 49ers. The eight-year veteran will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in next Sunday's conference championship showdown against either the Chiefs or Steelers.
Dion Lewis RB NE (9) 1 day ago
Lewis gained 41 yards and scored a touchdown on 13 carries, secured two of seven targets for 23 yards and another score, and totaled 124 yards and a third touchdown on three kickoff returns in Saturday's 34-16 divisional-round win over the Texans. He did fumble twice, losing one.
With the Patriots limiting LeGarrette Blount's touches after he missed a pair of practice sessions during the week with an illness, Lewis stepped up and became only the fifth player in team history to tally three touchdowns in a playoff game. He opened the scoring with a 13-yard scoring reception in the first quarter, and added a 98-yard touchdown on the kickoff return following a Nick Novak 33-yard field goal for the Texans. The third-year back capped off his stellar all-purpose performance with a one-yard scoring run early in the fourth after a Patriots' interception, giving New England a commanding 31-16 lead at the time. Lewis easily led in backfield touches and received five more carries than Blount overall, although that workload distribution could be a lot closer or even flipped in the conference championship next Sunday if the former is back at full strength.
Tom Brady QB NE (9) 1 day ago
Brady completed 18 of 38 passes for 287 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in Saturday's 34-16 divisional-round victory over the Texans. He also lost a yard on four rushes.
After throwing just two interceptions all season, Brady looked out of sorts in the first half, as an aggressive Texans pass rush and a pick by A.J. Bouye at the Patriots' 34-yard line had him and the New England offense looking rather pedestrian. The future Hall of Famer began to snap out of it late in the second quarter, however, completing a 48-yard bomb to Julian Edelman to help set up an eventual Stephen Gostowski 19-yard field goal with seven seconds to go before halftime. Although he did throw his second interception in the third quarter, Brady was otherwise much more effective in the second half, finishing off a nine-play, 90-yard drive with a 19-yard scoring dart to James White, and connecting with Edelman on several more occasions. His sub-50 percent completion rate and 56.9 QBR notwithstanding, Brady did flash his typical rapport with Edelman and Chris Hogan, and should be primed for yet another AFC championship round appearance next Sunday.
Jermaine Kearse WR SEA (5) 1 day ago
Kearse secured one of three targets for eight yards in Saturday's 36-20 divisional-round loss to the Falcons.
Kearse was essentially a non-factor once again, with his three targets tying for the second lowest among the Seahawks' receivers and tight ends. The fifth-year pro had a quiet postseason, notching just three receptions on six targets for 22 yards, although he did see teammate Doug Baldwin inadvertently steal a touchdown from him in Seattle's wild-card victory over the Lions. Despite his minimal involvement in the playoffs, Kearse did wrap up the 2016 campaign with his second-most receptions (41) in a season, although he needed a career-high 90 targets to achieve them.