The Patriots officially ended WR Wes Welker's season by placing him on injured reserve Wednesday.
Welker reportedly suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee when he fell to the turf in the first quarter after a reception Sunday against the Texans on a non-contact play. He finished the season with a career-high and franchise-record 123 catches for 1,348 yards and four TDs.
Head coach Bill Belichick criticized the Reliant Field surface in his weekly radio show before refusing further comment on the matter later.
The Patriots face the Ravens at home Sunday. One of the players who should see an increased role is Julian Edelman, who has a similar game to Welker and caught a career-high 10 passes for 103 yards in the loss to the Texans Sunday. Patriots QB Tom Brady said the team has to improve across the board to make up for Welker's loss.
"You can't replace him, there's no doubt about that," Brady said Monday on Boston sports radio station WEEI. "There's nobody that can substitute in for Wes and think that they're going to be Wes. He is everything you ask for.
"We've got to move on and we've got to go out there and play, and everyone I think in different areas has to pick it up. I have to play better, Julian (Edelman) has to play better, Randy [Moss] has to play better, the offensive line, running backs, tight ends, we all have to do more. I think that's the commitment we have to make to one another."
The Patriots filled Welker's roster spot with LB Thomas Williams, who was elevated from the team's practice squad.