Shane Vereen made his name known against Houston.
The Patriots' utilization of Shane Vereen has been streaky at best this year.
The former second-rounder spent much of the regular season on the sidelines, while fellow tailbacks Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead chalked up first downs. Up through Week 17, Vereen had touched the ball 70 times for 400 yards and three scores.
But in the first quarter of Sunday's game, Woodhead left with a thumb injury, according to ESPNBoston.com's Mike Rodak. And consequently, Vereen saw an uptick in playing time.
He did not disappoint.
The California Golden Bear aided the Patriots offense in a manner quite similar to Woodhead. Vereen was a potent option as a pass-catcher out of the backfield and even lined up outside the numbers.
He finished the playoff tilt with five catches for 83 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns, including a spectacular over-the-shoulder snag that gained 33 yards.
He did more than catch Tom Brady's passes, however. He garnered Brady's handoffs. On the ground, Vereen gained 41 yards on seven carries and added a rushing score.
By the end of the evening, Vereen had nearly matched his regular-season total for touchdowns and proved he's a viable option in New England's running back rotation.