BOSTON (CBS) — Sony Michel’s professional career is only about seven months old, but the 23-year-old has already been through a lot.
That trend continued Sunday, when for the second time in three games, Michel’s rookie season appeared to potentially be ended. This time, the running back was twisted to the turf by one defender while his lower body was wrapped up by another defender. The rookie remained down on the ground for several moments, and his walk to the sideline was less than encouraging.
But after getting some treatment, Michel was back on the sideline, ready to get back in the game. When he finally did re-enter, he burst for a 33-yard gain, his second-longest run of the season.
After shaking off the injury scare, Michel finished strong, proving he can still be a focal point of this Patriots offense when needed. He ran for 133 yards and a touchdown, setting a new career high in yards and scoring his first touchdown since Week 6 against Kansas City.
And despite being down on the turf with what looked like a pretty bad injury for the second time this season, Michel said he had his mind focused on only one thing: getting back in the game.
“Just getting back to the sideline, getting as much help as I can, just being able to get back out there on the field. My whole mind-set was just being able to get right, get back on the field to help my team,” Michel said. “It’s football, we all get tweaked up a little bit. But, you know, I’m back out there playing. Everything went smooth.”
Michel’s first injury scare of his rookie season came in Chicago, when he was twisted to the ground and appeared to sustain some serious damage to his knee. But he managed to avoid a major injury, and he returned to the field three weeks later in Tennessee. And though he didn’t produce much in that return, the bye week clearly helped him get to a good place before Sunday’s game against the Jets.
A challenge from the head coach also helped force the issue
“Coach kind of gave us a challenge this week on being able to run the football, and I think the offensive line, the receivers, everybody just collectively as a group did a good job to achieve that goal,” Michel said. “The challenge was just to be able to run the football consistently. And I think we did a great job of preparing in practice, and it carried over to the game field.”
Michel gave credit to the offensive line, as well as to fullback James Develin, for opening up some of the holes against the Jets. It ended up being his third 100-yard rushing performance of his rookie season, and he also has a 98-yard game mixed in as well. He’s now up to 586 yards and five touchdowns in eight games.