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Patriots Midterm Grades: Rushing Offense

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FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 09: BenJarvus Green-Ellis #42 of the New England Patriots carries the ball in the first half against the New York Jets on October 9, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 09: BenJarvus Green-Ellis #42 of the New England Patriots carries the ball in the first half against the New York Jets on October 9, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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We're officially at the mid-point of the Patriots' 2011 season! That being said, over the course of the next few days, we'll take a quick look at several aspects of the team and leave it to the Pats Pulpit community to grade the Patriots in each category. At the end of the week, we'll put together a post tallying the results.

Earlier today, we looked at how the Patriots have fared thus far this year in the passing attack. Now, we'll take a look at how the team's running game has fared thus far this season.

In the first three games of the year, the Patriots struggled to run to ball mainly due to a lack of commitment to that phase of the game. However, starting in week four against the Raiders, the Patriots started to consistently run the ball to starter BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Over a three game span, a three game winning streak I might add, Green-Ellis carried the ball for 269 yards on 57 attempts. Patriots rookie Stevan Ridley also showed some flashes during that stretch, running the ball for an additional 97 yards in the game against Oakland.

But in the last two weeks, the Patriots offense has turned back to the habits from the first two weeks of the year - with a serious lack of commitment to running the football. The only difference, the passing attack has seemingly been figured out by opposing defense and the overall production of the offense has slowed significantly.

Overall, the team's running attack hasn't exactly been terrible, but it hasn't been up to par with last season's success - mainly due to a lack of commitment to the ground attack.

Greg's Grade: B

Feel free to discuss your grades in the comments section!