Only two New England running backs have appeared in every game this season: Kevin Faulk and Laurence Maroney. Both are inactive today against Houston.
It's not hard to understand why the Patriots might give Faulk a day off. The 33-year-old multi-purpose back is averaging 6.6 touches per week out of the backfield and is of the age where a week off makes sense to preserve him for the playoffs.
Maroney, though, is younger and healthier and doesn't seem to have been playing through any injuries this season. (He was listed as "probable" on the injury report with a knee injury that didn't pop up until Friday.) The only affliction affection Maroney this season, in fact, seems to be the fumble-itis that struck at the goal line once again last week against Jacksonville.
This has been as roller-coaster a year for Maroney as ever. At times, he's looked like the player the Patriots drafted in the first round out of Minnesota. At other times, he's looked like the player the Patriots contemplated releasing during training camp.
He's certainly in the doghouse now.
There's no guarantee -- especially at this time of year -- he's going to get a chance to play his way out.