Belichick: Blount 'carried the team on his back'

Belichick: Blount 'carried the team on his back'
December 29, 2013, 11:15 pm
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PATRIOTS 34, BILLS 20

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FOXBORO -- When LeGarrette Blount left the rain-soaked field a last time in New England's 34-20 win over Buffalo, he made straight for Bill Belichick. The 27-year old running back wrapped his coach in a bear hug, smiled, and laughed.

"It was just the excitement of us winning the game and getting that first-round bye into the playoffs," he explained later at his locker. "We can go into this week and we can get a lot of rest and we have two weeks to study a lot of film on whoever we're going to play."

Ever a team player. Belichick saw the moment differently.

"He carried the team on his back most of the day. He had [334] yards, I don’t know how much more we had besides that. But I’d say he did the bulk of it, no question. He had some help, but he did a great job; tremendous."

Blount gouged Buffalo's defense with 189 rushing yards -- a new single-game high -- and two touchdowns on 24 carries. But some of his best work was done on kickoff returns. The big back had two on the night, the first one he ripped off for 83 yards; the second, for 62.

Impressive, considering he's towing 250 pounds.

"It's pretty deceptive," he said of his build. "Me being the size I am is different and it brings another dimension to my game for the fact that people have to respect that I have that kind of speed now."

December downpour be damned; Blount was as sure-footed as he's been all season.

"He looked like a speedster to me," special teams captain Matthew Slater grinned. "It's just a lot of fun when you make a big play in the kicking game, it really helps the offense, especially with the conditions the way they were tonight. It was exciting to see LeGarrette out there rumbling, bumbling, stumbling and making some plays out there for us too."

It was easily his best game of the last two seasons. And more importantly for the Patriots, it marked a continued positive correlation between field time and performance. Blount has averaged 22 snaps in New England's last four games and had a season-high 27 in last weekend's win over Baltimore. Sunday's 24 carries were huge. Of 772 total yards, 398 have been gained in the last five games.

More responsibility? More production.

"Obviously it was a tremendous game by LeGarrette [Blount]; clearly the best player on the field, he had a tremendous day," Belichick said.

The coach actually took Blount out on the last series of the game so he could receive a standing ovation from the crowd.

There could be no better time to for affirmation; Blount is embarking on the first playoff run of his four-year NFL career. Though he did not, could not, hide his excitement, the running back promised focus.

His plan for the postseason is simple.

"Same mindset I had this week. I'm going to go out there and I'm going to play my game. I'm going to go out there and play physical, I'm going to run hard and I'm going to fight for extra yardage. I'm going to do everything I can to just come out and win."