FOXBORO -- Martellus Bennett went down awkwardly and didn't get up. A moment passed. Then several. The CBS broadcast was almost through it's commercial break before the Patriots tight end was on his feet.
It looked like Bennett might have suffered a serious injury to his left knee the way he was holding it, the way Patriots medical personnel were tending to him. But then he got up . . . and he ran to the sidelines, eliciting the roar from the Gillette Stadium crowd.
PATRIOTS 34, TEXANS 16
- Curran: Patriots move on, but it's not all smiles in Foxboro
- Lewis harps on fumbles after otherwise historic night: 'My worst game ever'
- Tom E. Curran's Best and Worst
- Wilfork: I think I've played my last NFL game
- Dan Koppen: Every time Patriots get questioned, they step up
- Ray Lewis and Earl Thomas take Twitter jabs at Tom Brady
It was one of two injury scares inflicted upon the Patriots as they earned a spot in the AFC title game Saturday by beating the Texans, 34-16. Chris Hogan left the game in the third quarter with a thigh injury, but he eventually returned to the sidelines, and as he was leaving the locker room for the night he indicated that he was fine.
Bennett's declaration of good health was slightly more entertaining.
"I'm not a doctor," he said when asked why he was down on the ground for such a long stretch of time. "I watch a lot of 'House,' but I'm not a doctor."
Bennett has remained on the ground for an extended period of time only to return to action on more than one occasion this season. It happened during a Week 5 win over the Browns when he twisted his ankle, stayed down, and eventually jogged off. Later that day he explained that he envisioned himself as Luke Cage, the Marvel superhero known for his superhuman strength and durability.
Late on Saturday night, he did the same.
"I just always think about Luke Cage," he said. "It's funny when I get to the sideline, everyone's like, 'What would Luke Cage do?' I'm like '[expletive], I gotta get back out there because that's what Luke Cage would do.'
"I don't know . . . [expletive] happens. You just try to find a way to fight through whatever it is. I've been fighting through [expletive] the whole year, and I'm not gonna stop now. I'm getting too close to what my goal is in life. I'm just gonna keep trucking and keep trying to do what I can to contribute and play as hard as I can."
Bennett finished the game with one catch on four targets for four yards and a drop deep down the right sideline. He played in 64 of 69 total snaps and was used extensively as a run-blocker.
It wasn't Bennett's first postseason game -- he went with the Cowboys back in 2009 -- but for weeks he's spoken of this as his first playoff experience, and that continued during his latest back-and-forth with reporters.
"I think at some point I was pressing a little bit to try to make plays," he said. "It felt like we needed some plays made, and being out there first time, you want to make it great.
"It's like going on a first date with a girl you really love. If she steps in a puddle or you get in a car accident, it's not that great . . . I felt like I was struggling on that first date. I dropped a plate on my date, and all kinds of [expletive] was going on. But at the end of the day, it turned out to be a great date."
Particularly since he was able to walk away from it.