What has gotten into LeGarrette Blount and can he sustain this level of production as the season comes to a finale?
Raj: I think it's finally hit Blount that he is a New England Patriot who is only a win away from NJ and two wins away from winning it all. We all know (or hopefully should know) by now that Blount has had a troubled career. While he had sporadic success in Tampa with the Bucs, he never found his maximum potential. His performance down south was why he was only worth a 7th rounder and an olympic runner who wasn't even going to pursue a longterm football career. But Belichick and Talib understood Blount's value to the Pats offense. To Blount, this is quite the honor and now he's living up to it. He's showing that his troubled past can go rot in a hole because he's found his true self with the Patriots. I thought his performance against the Bills was a fluke. But after seeing what happened to the Colts, all I can say is that LeGarrette Blount is for real! And he will continue to perform like this as long as he keeps his eye on the big prize.
bLeGarrette Blount’s production has been primarily due to his ability to gain extra yards by rushing north to south. When Stevan Ridley hit the bench due to fumbling problems, you have to think Blount gained confidence knowing he was the number one running back. Plus, he had never been close to the postseason, so that adrenaline of being in your first playoffs comes into play. Denver is a top ten rush defense, so this game on Sunday will be a larger test than his three previous games. I think he can sustain the production, but this game on Sunday will come down to the secondary running backs and their fumble history (Montee Ball and Stevan Ridley).
Jason: I love what Blount has done lately. He gives the Pats a physical presence that they have been sorely lacking in recent years. However, the road is going to get a whole lot tougher from here with the Broncos and potentially the Seahawks or 49ers on the docket. I hope I'm wrong, but I think his best games of this season are in the rearview mirror.
Derek: If you ask Blount himself, he'll tell you that the secret is Bill Belichick telling him to lower his pad level so that he's harder to tackle. While I'm sure that's playing a role, I think the other mitigating factors are strong play by the O-line, bad weather, and pure necessity given the injuries to Brady's receivers. I think Blount will continue to play well, but I doubt we'll see another huge game this weekend. There's no way the Broncos can ignore him at this point and will dedicate a significant effort to limiting him. The key, is that I see this coming at the expense of their already banged-up pass defense. Look for Brady, Edelman, and Amendola to have have a big day.