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Bill Belichick grateful for Patriots depth

FOXBOROUGH -- The Patriots got nicked up pretty early in Sunday’s win against against the Houston Texans, losing tight end Rob Gronkowski and running back Danny Woodhead to injury, but the team didn’t let it hurt its offense.

Gronkowski, who hurt his left forearm again and left the locker room after the game in a sling, is not expected to return for the rest of the postseason. Woodhead suffered a thumb injury on his left hand.

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Shane Vereen subbed in for Woodhead as the team ran the no-huddle, accounting for 124 total yards and three touchdowns. Michael Hoomanawanui replaced Gronkowski in the lineup and performed well as a blocking tight end.

“Fortunately we had a bunch of guys step up today that made the plays they needed to make,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “I’m happy for the players. They had a good week of practice. They earned it.

“[Hoomanawanui], and Shane [Vereen], stepped in there and did a great job. As he’s been doing for the last month.

Not only did Gronkowski and Woodhead leave the game, but Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones missed time as well. Ninkovich was able to return, though.

“These kind of games, you never know where the dial spins and who it’s going to end up on,” Belichick said.

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