After beating the Texans 34-31 in Houston, Tom Brady praised his teammates, as he often does.
"A lot of guys made some really big plays," Brady said. "James Develin, [Julian Edelman] -- everyone contributed."
Yes. The Patriots fullback, who, coming into this Week 13 matchup, played just 179 of 826 offense snaps. The fullback who never carried a football before Sunday.
He might have made the play of the game.
New England was down to the Texans, 17-7, in the third quarter. Brady had driven the Patriots to a first-and-1 situation on Houston's 1-yard line. With lead back Stevan Ridley benched for fumbling, it only would have made sense for Brady to hand off to 250-pound wrecking ball LeGarrette Blount.
But the ball went to Develin.
The former defensive end at Brown University tried to go over the top on Houston and got stuffed. Somehow he stayed on his feet and tried again, moving to his left. He slipped one tackle only to run into the arms of another defender. Three more Texans tried to tackle Develin as he spun loose. He bounced off them all and into the end zone.
New England used several offensive formations with "regular personnel" -- two receivers, one tight end, two backs -- and Develin kept up every time he was on the field. Brady never had to worry about his fullback falling behind.
"He knows right where to go. He knows his job, his responsibility. He gets lined up," Brady noted. "They were matching us up with some different personnel groupings. But whatever we've asked of him . . . For example, he's done a great job of coming in and understanding what he has to do, and doing a great job of it."
Develin finished with one catch 12 yards, as well as two rushes for four yards and that incredible touchdown.