Patriots: Gray and Blount re-energize backfield
It’s been well documented that the New England Patriots got off to a slow start this season, the sluggishness reached a nadir with a Week 4 defeat against the Chiefs. The following week the Patriots bounced back with a strong offensive showing against the Bengals, that included an impressive 220 rushing yards, at 4.8 yards per attempt. Unfortunately, one week later lead back Steven Ridley was lost for the season against Buffalo – marking the start of a four week stretch in which the Patriots averaged only 3 yards per carry on the ground.
However the Patriots have taken steps to address that. Firstly Jonas Gray came up from the practice squad and ran hard against Chicago (5.1 yards per attempt) and Denver (3 missed tackles) before putting together a 201 yard performance against the Colts to earn an impressive +5.3 rushing grade. At that point Gray led the team in both Elusive Rating (35.7) and Breakaway Percentage (21.7). Then the team signed former Patriot LeGarrette Blount suddenly became available. Quickly pressed into action Blount answered the bell immediately with 136 yards (6.2 yards per attempt) and two touchdowns in two games. He leads the team in both Elusive Rating (114.7) and Breakaway Percentage (41.2). Between them, Gray and Blount have given the running game a new lease of life.