BOSTON (CBS) – LeGarrette Blount had a breakout game yesterday against the Bills, rushing for 189 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns.
With Blount on a tear, Stevan Ridley coming into form and Shane Vereen being the versatile, dual-threat weapon as a receiver and runner, it looks like the Patriots running game is a legitimate option come playoff time – whereas in years past that may not have been the case.
Of their other skill position players, slot receiver Julian Edelman is having a career year and Danny Amendola appears to be getting healthier as the season progresses.
The one glaring weakness of this Patriots offense is the outside receivers, or lack thereof, and never was that more evident than against the Dolphins in Week 15.
Down 24-20, the Patriots were in the Miami red zone and threatening to score but just couldn’t connect with their “smurf” receivers, as Adam Jones puts it.
Aaron Dobson left Sunday’s game early with a foot injury after coming up limp on a deep route in the first half of action, and Kenbrell Thompkins has seen his role diminish after injuries have slowed down the fast start to his rookie season.
Former Patriots tight end Jermaine Wiggins is worried that playoff teams will be able to take away the middle of the field – essentially rendering Edelman and Amendola useless – and that the lack of an outside passing game could be the Patriots undoing.
“If I’m a defensive coordinator [facing the Patriots], I’m going to stack the box, take the run away from them, clog up the middle and do my best to take away Edelman, Amendola and Vereen out of the game. You’re going to have to beat me throwing the ball to whoever is lined up outside the numbers. To me, I don’t think they have that,” said Wiggy.
Adam Jones referenced the 2010 playoffs and how Rex Ryan’s gameplan employed that same strategy, which as fans remember resulted in a Patriots loss.
Listen below for the full discussion: