FOXBOROUGH, Mass., Jan. 13 (UPI) -- New England's Tom Brady fired three touchdown passes Sunday and the Patriots advanced to the AFC championship game with a 41-28 victory over Houston.
Brady went 25-of-40 for 344 passing yards with no interceptions, hooking up twice with Shane Vereen on scoring strikes as the Patriots scored 21 straight points in the second half to put the divisional round contest away.
Vereen also ran the ball seven times for 41 yards with a score and Stevan Ridley added a touchdown en route to 82 yards on 15 carries for New England, which advanced to the conference title game against Baltimore for the second straight year.
The Ravens, who defeated Denver in their divisional playoff Saturday, fell to New England 23-20 in last year's AFC championship. The Patriots went on to lose to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.
They will meet again in Foxborough next week.
Matt Schaub amassed 343 yards on 34-of-51 efficiency with a pair of scores and a pickoff for the Texans, who fell in the divisional round for the second straight season.
Arian Foster gained 90 yards on 22 carries with a score and also caught a TD pass for Houston.