Hernandez suffered a head injury after taking a hand-off near the goal line in the fourth quarter and underwent concussion tests after appearing woozy on the sideline. However, he was his normal, jovial self afterward in the locker room, and he said he feels "great."
For a night, the tight end morphed into the Patriots' most productive running back, racking up five carries for 61 yards — more than quadrupling the rushing output of his former Florida teammate, Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.
Hernandez isn't a stranger to taking hand-offs. He was a running back through high school, and he had eight carries for 92 yards in his first two regular seasons with the Patriots.
Yet, Saturday's performance was a little more special. On the fourth play of the game, he took a hand-off and broke free off the left tackle for a 43-yard gain, breaking a tackle and bursting through the second level of the defense to set up the Patriots at the Denver 7-yard line. One play later, Tom Brady hit Wes Welker for the game's first touchdown, and the Patriots never let up.
"I was surprised," Hernandez said of his amount of reps at the running back position, "but I was happy to be doing it, and I hope we can do a little more of it."
Hernandez also lined up in the backfield before breaking out into a passing route or helping with a block. Again, it's nothing new for him, but the heavy workload definitely caught his attention.
"I love running back," Hernandez said. "I hope he keeps letting me do a little bit of it. It doesn't matter. Whatever I can do to help this team get to that next game."
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