Though they had previously clinched a first-round bye, defeating the Buffalo Bills 34-20 in the final week of the regular season, many weren’t entirely sure what to expect from New England — especially now with first round byes beginning to lose their appeal in the league.
Nonetheless, the Patriots would have to face a surging Colts team. Indianapolis had just come off a war against the Kansas City Chiefs in their Wild-Card game, achieving the second largest come from behind victory in NFL playoff history. They defeated the Chiefs with a final score of 45-44, with Andrew Luck rallying them from down 38-10 early in the third quarter.
Though luck had obviously been on the Colts side, against the Patriots, their quarterback just could not live up to his name. Andrew finished the night throwing four interceptions, giving him a total of seven in his playoff career. (He only had nine during the course of the entire regular season!)
For the Patriots, quarterback Tom Brady compiled 189 passing yards, but the true facilitator of the offense was not Tom Terrific or a superb receiving corps. It was a running back who goes by the nickname of “Blount Force Trauma.” LeGarrette Blount led New England’s rushing attack, compiling four touchdowns for 169 yards and setting a new Patriots postseason record for the most rushing yards in a single game.
Truly a leader in New England’s rushing attack, Blount has consistently plowed his way through opposing defenses. Though he did have a record-setting night and back-to-back phenomenal games, the question is can the Patriots truly rely on “Blount force” to carry them into the the Super Bowl? Let’s take a look.
Blount was acquired by the Patriots this past offseason from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for running back Jeff Demps and a seventh round pick. Though this deal originally looked like a foolish move on the Bucs’ behalf, to their defense, Blount was considered a problem player during his time in Tampa Bay.
The acquisition of Blount was also cheered by former teammate, cornerback Aqib Talib; Talib was the same man who advised head coach Bill Belichick to pull the trigger on the deal, assuring him that it was the right move to make. Ironically, Talib was also looked at as a problem player with the Buccaneers.
The Patriots are no strangers to acquiring disgruntled players who were considered problems throughout the league. Some names that come to mind are Randy Moss and Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, but many seem to disregard the one player who was a superstar in his own right and had an offense built around him. Does the name Corey Dillon ring a bell?
Like Blount, Dillon was considered a troubled player throughout his time with the Cincinnati Bengals. Tired of his bickering and complaining, Cincinnati ultimately decided to rid themselves of Dillon and ship him off to New England for a coveted second-round pick, and the rest, as they say, is history. Dillon made an immediate impact in his first season with the Patriots as he posted 12 touchdowns for 1,635 yards leading New England to another Super Bowl victory in 2004. Can Blount accomplish the same feat?
Blount finished his 2013 campaign rushing for 772 yards and seven touchdowns, but with the Patriots set to head to Denver to face the Broncos, there don’t seem to be any obvious advantages; Blount wasn’t a featured player during their lone match-up this season. Whether he is a factor in the AFC Championship game or not, it’s apparent that Blount has truly solidified himself as the premiere featured back in the Patriots’ rushing attack and possibly a key to another Super Bowl appearance.