There was something both familiar and unfamiliar in the New England Patriots 43-22 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night. The familiar was the Patriots advancing once again to the AFC Championship Game. The unfamiliar was their dedication and reliance on a resurgent ground attack. As ESPN reports Jan. 12, it was LeGarrette Blount who led the Patriots' offense.
With 166 rushing yards on 24 carries, Blount reminded the league of a time when smash mouth football was the key ingredient to winning football games. On Saturday night Blount tied Curtis martin's team playoff record with yards gained and more impressively he came within one touchdown of tying the NFL's touchdown record with four rushing TD's. Ironically, it brought the Patriots back to their championship days when they supported Tom Brady with a power running game. Suddenly a player who the Patriots acquired for a track star who barely sees the field, has become the heart of the offense.
His 250-pound frame shields how quick and explosive he is. The highlight of the game was his 73-yard run in the early in the fourth quarter. Blount said after the game that he is hard to bring down once he hits the open field.
"Once I get into the open field, they're going to have to chase me. And if they catch me, they do. And if they don't, they don't. They usually don't."
As the Patriots prepare to take on the winner to Sunday's matchup between the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers, the team now knows they don't have to solely rely on Tom Brady's arms. LeGarrette Blount is reminding head coach Bill Belichick of the days when he had Antoine Smith and Corey Dillion.
"He's got that combination of size, power, and quickness and speed. He can run hard. He can make guys miss and he can go the distance."
It is that combination that is suddenly making the team's decision to use him on kickoff returns make sense now. The Patriots as a whole ran for six touchdowns with Stevan Ridley rushing for the other two.