FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Tom Brady became the winningest quarterback in postseason play, throwing for three touchdowns Sunday to beat Houston 41-28 and lift the New England Patriots into the AFC championship game.
Brady got his 17th victory, surpassing his childhood hero, Joe Montana, by throwing for 344 yards. Seldom-used running back Shane Vereen scored three times, twice on receptions.
If Brady can lead the Patriots (13-4) past Baltimore (12-6) in next Sunday's conference title game, then win the Super Bowl, he'll equal the 49ers' Hall of Famer for NFL championships.
The Patriots and Ravens are meeting for the AFC title for the second straight year. Baltimore, which stunned top-seeded Denver in double overtime Saturday, lost 23-20 at Gillette Stadium last January.
Williamsville native Rob Gronkowski will miss the remainder of the playoffs. He broke his left forearm again making a diving catch along the sidelines in the first quarter. Its the second straight season Gronkowski has suffered a serious injury.
Houston (13-5) performed far better than in a 42-14 loss here last month. But the Texans couldn't slow down Brady.