If there was one story line overlooked from Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, it was the prominent return of 35 year old running back Kevin Faulk. Faulk got the start for New England in his first game back after tearing his ACL in week two of last season and spending the Patriots' first six games on the PUP.
But the thing that was so notable about Faulk's performance was that it became clear that Faulk's spot on the roster won't be any type of sentimental send-off (a la Troy Brown in 2007). Kevin Faulk, the longest tenured current Patriot, is going to have an integral role with the 2011 Patriots.
Against the Steelers, Faulk played three times as many snaps than any other Patriots running back, carried the ball six times for 32 yards and caught five passes for 20 yards. He was also integral in blitz pick-up on the Patriots first touchdown.
Part of the reason that Faulk played so much was because the Patriots were down early, never established the run, and were in attack-mode (not sure that's really the way to describe it) with the passing game. Nonetheless, Faulk showed that he can still be the Patriots' primary passing back and be more than effective in that role.