The physical running back tallied a league-high 18 rushing touchdowns but has been inefficient in the playoffs. If New England wants to win Super Bowl 51, they need LeGarrette Blount to produce.
Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount has established himself as a top running back in the NFL. His 1,161 rushing yards in 2016 gave him his second career season of surpassing 1,000. Blount’s first was in his rookie season in 2000 back in Tampa Bay. Now, Blount is heading to Super Bowl 51, giving him his second appearance in a Super Bowl in three years.
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Back in 2014, when the Patriots eventually defeated the Seahawks in Super Bowl 49, Blount had an outstanding postseason. Three games (including SB49), 47 attempts for 189 yards and three touchdowns. Now, in 2016, he has only 24 carries for 78 yards and a lone touchdown.
We even saw his playing time get cut in favor of Dion Lewis against the Texans, who had 13 rushes for 41 yards and a score. Blount only had eight carries. It certainly might make sense for the Pats to play Lewis more, as they are 16-0 in every game that Lewis has played in. But, going forward, they need Blount to break down defenses.
Regardless of Lewis’ impact, it’s vital for the Patriots to use Blount how he should be used; as a pulverizing, no-mercy running back. Blount is reminiscent of Marshawn Lynch, and going against an inexperienced Falcons defense might be what he needs to become an x-factor. It’s like playing a four-year college starter against a high-school freshman. It’s just a situation you need to take advantage of.
According to NFL.com, Blount’s strength throughout the 2010 NFL Combine was exactly what you thought it’d be.
“Blount possesses rare size for the running back position. Shows impressive balance on contact, will consistently break tackles and is rarely brought down by arm tackles in the open field. Exhibits good foot quickness and agility for a big back and can make plays in space and on the perimeter.”
The Patriots run thin on solid, week-in and week-out playmakers. Blount showed throughout the season that he was one of those rare guys that could impact any game. New England featured him with over 20 rushes each of the first three weeks of the season. After that, he compiled a couple games of over 100+ yards rushing but was seen mostly on the goal line.
Now, he is an absolute force to be reckoned with on the goal line, but momentum sways both ways. When given a single game of under-20 carries, Blount would underperform, never surpassing 80+ yards all but once with limited carries. These games also came in streaks, as he is now on a three-game streak of having less-than-20 carries. When given 20 or more carries, Blount has gone over 100-yards three times and has combined for 11 touchdowns.
What I’m trying to get here, is that the Patriots must feed the beast, much like what Dallas did with Ezekiel Elliott. Give Blount his fair share of carries, let him slow down the game and keep Matt Ryan off the field. Let him do what he does best, and watch the show he puts on.