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Patriots Extend Lead over Texans, Up 31-13 Headed to 4th

The New England Patriots came out and had a tremendous 3rd quarter, extending a 17-13 halftime lead into a 31-13 lead heading into the fourth.

Despite some breaks going Houston's way, the Patriots have persevered, and are on the verge of earning an AFC Championship berth. Nonetheless, fifteen minutes is a very long time in football, and anything can still happen. The Patriots need to continue to push the gas pedal in the fourth quarter.

The third quarter run was powered by a couple of things. Tom Brady had a hot quarter, finding Aaron Hernandez on a long gain on the quarter's opening touchdown drive. Stevan Ridley capped off the drive with a seven yard touchdown run.

Later in the third quarter, after a should have been fumble recovery was called back, Rob Ninkovich came up huge with an interception of Matt Schaub. The Patriots got the ball back, were boosted by a couple of long runs by Stevan Ridley. The drive was capped off with a quick Tom Brady to Brandon Lloyd touchdown to give the Patriots that 18 point lead with the extra point.

Heading into the fourth, the Texans have the ball and are facing a fourth and inches.