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The New England Patriots broke their uncharacteristic two-game losing streak on Sunday night, re-asserting themselves in the landscape of the AFC. The 27-6 victory was a sight for Patriots’ fans sore eyes after back-to-back painful losses. Here are six reasons why the Patriots won in Week 14:
6. Rushing offense
Finally, the ground game got going for the Patriots in Week 14. For the first time since the win over the Washington Redskins back in October, the backfield passed the 100-yard mark. It was about time.
Before leaving the game with a hip injury, LeGarrette Blount had churned out 53 yards on 10 carries, including an impressive 17-yard burst. When Blount exited the game, Brandon Bolden picked up the slack, rushing for 15 yards on 16 carries. Additionally, James White’s only carry of the game was a two-yard touchdown score.
As a result of the Patriots’ success running the ball, the Texans weren’t able to key-in on Tom Brady. In fact, Brady threw the ball only 30 times, nearly half of his attempts the previous week against the Philadelphia Eagles (56). The less Brady throws, the better, as it means the ground game is working and there is less pressure on the 38-year-old’s right arm.
Regardless of the status of Blount moving forward, the Patriots must continue to utilize the run game. Bolden may have been a core special teamer this time last year when Blount, Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen were ahead of him on the depth chart, but now is his time to prove his worth as a regular ball carrier. As long as Bolden plays like he did last night, the Patriots will be fine.
Next: 5. Health of Gronk, Amendola