After much uproar about the Patriots using the seldom-used May 9th tag on LeGarrette Blount, the bruising running back signed with the Eagles today on a deal that could be worth up to $2.6 million. I felt earlier this offseason that it was time to move on from Blount. Nothing personal against the player, I just felt the Patriots got all that they were going to get out of him and it was better to turn the page to some younger backs to fill his early down/goal line role.
It was fun while it lasted. Blount had some of the most fun runs in Patriots’ history and broke the single-season rushing touchdown record in 2016. He’d bowl over players, he’d leap over them and more often than not, he’d carry would-be tacklers multiple yards before going down. His touchdown celebrations with the Patriots musket militia were some of my favorite moments.
But Blount also was completely invisible in some of the biggest games of the last few seasons. We can still appreciate a player despite some of his shortcomings, so let’s take a look back at some of his best and worst games as a Patriot.
Five Best Games
- 2013 AFCDG vs. Colts: 166 yards, Four touchdowns
- 2014 AFCCG vs Colts: 148 yards, Three touchdowns
- 2013 Week 17 vs. Buffalo: 189 yards, Two touchdowns
- 2016 Week 7 at Steelers: 127 yards, Two touchdowns
- 2015 Week 8 vs. Redskins: 129 yards, One touchdown
Three Worst Games
- 2013 AFCCG at Broncos: Five carries, Six yards
- Super Bowl 51 vs Falcons: 31 yards, One fumble
- 2014 AFCDG vs. Ravens: Three carries, One yard
I’m not trying to kick Blount on the way out, but these games sum up what my frustrations were with him during his time in New England. The prime example? Going from hanging 189 yards and 166 yards and six total touchdowns in the regular season finale and first playoff game in 2013, to five carries for six yards in the AFC Championship.
Yes, Denver’s defense was great and the game plan certainly played into it, but that kind of disappearance is pretty overwhelming. And for a Patriots team that was already devastated by injuries to their offense, it was the wrong time for Blount to go completely MIA.
It speaks to a bigger point about Blount. When he was on against the right opponent he could hit unstoppable mode. And even in some of his so-so performances like the 2016 AFCDG vs. the Steelers where he had an unimpressive 16 carries for 42 yards, he still turned in one of the toughest runs of his career.
Then there was Super Bowl 51, where NFL Films picked up running back coach Ivan Fears audio telling Blount after his momentum-stealing fumble that they had studied the film all week and knew Atlanta like to try and strip the ball out. His frustration was palpable. That pretty much ended Blount’s day in the Super Bowl and likely cemented his fate with the team.
I don’t want to harp on the negative though. Blount had some electrifying moments and was a major part of the last four season’s worth of success. Now we’ll see how his game translates in Philly and the Pats can keep him as part of their compensatory pick formula.