New England Patriots: Team Grades for AFC Championship Game
By Nick Ziegler
Even though the Patriots cruised to a win against the Steelers, their rushing offense was a non-factor for much of the game. In the win against the Texans, we saw running back Dion Lewis shine for the Patriots. He was able to have one of the best games in his career, and many believed he was going to be called upon often against the Steelers. However, that was not the case.
In the win, Lewis totaled just six carries for 11 rushing yards. Instead of Lewis, it was LeGarrette Blount who was the featured back for the Patriots. Blount totaled 47 rushing yards on 16 carries with one touchdown. Even though he only averaged 2.9 yards per carry, Blount did have some good runs in the second half.
Against the Falcons, the Patriots will have to be able to run the ball a bit better. Even though their passing offense was exceptional, being balanced is important for an offense. The Patriots were able to still use their play action passes, however, the Steelers likely hoping the Patriots would do them the favor of running the football. It wasn’t the worst day on the ground, but there is a lot of room for improvement.