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New England Patriots Rushing Attack vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars: Blount Force Lewis

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A film review of all the runs and catches between LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis that went over 10 yards or scored a touchdown.

Blount Force Trauma
Blount Force Trauma
James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

For the 2015 season, I'm naming the Patriots RB Corps as #BlountForceLewis. Both running backs provide a nice change of pace to each other. Lewis is the scat back who can create yards eluding tacklers in space and drive them back using his low center of gravity. Blount is the big, physical back that takes a bit longer to start, but turns into a freight train when he gets going. Lewis on the field allows the Patriots offense to be diverse at the start of the game and build up a lead and Blount picks up yards against tired defenses and moves the chains late in the game when the Patriots need to kill the clock. An example of the latter was when the Patriots embarked on a 17-play, 58-yard drive that ended with Blount's 3rd touchdown of the day. The Patriots ran the ball 9 times for 26 yards, relying on Brady's arm to help convert long 3rd downs. The drive took 9 minutes and 47 seconds, which is the kind of drive you want to see the Patriots close a game with no matter the score.

This game had more involvement from LeGarrette Blount, who touched the ball 19 times for 92 yards and 3 TD. Dion Lewis also touched the ball 13 times for 67 yards and a touchdown. Blount had more splash plays, with 2 runs of 15 or more while Lewis' best gain was 10, which is why it's a 6 to 1 play breakdown in favor of Blount. The Patriots have gotten 325 yards (146 rushing, 179 receiving) and 2 TD from Lewis on 45 touches while Blount has 21 touches for 96 yards (82 rushing, 14 receiving) and 3 TD. If the Patriots can continue to average 140 scrimmage yards from their running backs every game, that's a huge lift to the offense.

Play #1: Dion Lewis TD

The Patriots are in 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE) with Rob Gronkowski playing the end of the line on the offense's right and Dion Lewis in the backfield. The Patriots run misdirection by selling an stretch left outside zone run, but instead the handoff actually goes to the right. The three interior offensive linemen are able to drive their two assignments away from the hole. Right Tackle Sebastian Vollmer and Gronkowski are able to combo-block the play-side defensive end inside, which allows Gronk to move up to the 2nd level and get a block on linebacker Paul Posluszny. With the other linebacker, Tevin Smith, in pursuit Dion Lewis jab-steps inside Gronk's block and causes Smith to take a false step inside as Lewis quickly cuts to the outside of Gronk. Lewis makes the safety Josh Evans miss and walks into the end zone for 6.

Play #2: Pass the Blount

The Patriots line up in 13 personnel for this play (1 RB, 3 TE) with Scott Chandler and Michael Williams as the other two TEs. Gronk lines up in the backfield as the fullback, but motions to the left behind Chandler. It looked like a play where the Patriots were trying to get Gronk up the seam against the Jacksonville defense, but Tyson Alualu beats Right Guard Tre Jackson as Brady is trying to execute the play-fake to Blount. Brady escape from the pressure by stepping up in the pocket and finds his check-down receiver wide open in the flat. Blount catches the ball around midfield and is able to pick up eight more yards before the Jaguars can bring him down. That's a play where if Brady had enough time, he would have gone up the seam with Gronkowski off the heavy-play action look. The play ended up picking up 14 yards.

Play #3: Freight Train

Once again, LeGarrette Blount gets the call on this play. With the same personnel on the field on the play, this time Gronkowski lines up where he started the last play. He motions inside to the left wing as the Patriots snap the ball. The offensive line blocks down to their right, and Blount bounces it outside. With the safeties getting sucked up inside, there was no one to contain the back-side cut. Blount is able to run inside the Jacksonville 25 yard line before a Jaguars defender even touched him. Josh Evans is able to tackle Blount by taking out his legs, but Blount is able to rattle off for 22 yards on the play. This is an example of when Blount is able to get into the open field and it's off to the races to try to stop that Freight Train.

Play #4: Blount Horse Trauma

The Patriots spread the field with an 11 personnel grouping, with Mike Williams as the Patriots tight end. The Patriots offensive line is able to work the outside zone left against the Jacksonville nickel defense. As the entire Jacksonville front is escorted to the offense's left, Blount cuts back where the blitzing safety James Sample was in the hole. Edelman takes him out to free up that hole and the block by Williams ends up taking out two Jaguars on the play. The only player that stood between Blount and the end zone was Peyton Thompson. As Blount applies the stiff arm, Thompson grabs Blount inside the shoulder pads. Instead of giving up a touchdown, Thompson is able to cut the gain to 17 yards plus the 15 yard personnel foul penalty. This run is Blount when he's at his best. The play was called Blount Horse Trauma because Blount was galloping towards the end zone and was horse collared.

Play #5: Blount Force

The Patriots line up with 3 TE and Shaq Mason as the "Fullbaq". The Patriots go to the burrow and plunge strategy, which works successfully up the middle. In addition, Mason is able to take out the linebacker in the hole and Blount goes to the lane created by a combo-block by Vollmer and right guard Marcus Cannon. Blount is able to cross the plane of the goal line for a touchdown.

Play #6: Blount Force Liftoff

The Patriots line up with the same personnel as the last touchdown. Jacksonville does a better job of creating a wall at the line of scrimmage, so Blount decides to throw caution in the wind and try to leap over that wall for a touchdown. Blount jumps over both his Fullbaq and center David Andrews and extends the ball over the goal line for a touchdown.

Play #7: Blount's 3rd TD

The Patriots use the same personnel grouping again. If it ain't broke don't fix it. This time, they motion Scott Chandler across the formation and run off-tackle to the right. The right side of the Patriots OL traps the left side of the Jaguars front and block them to the ground. Mason and Blount both run to the outside of Vollmer on the play. Mason runs over James Sample at the goal line and Blount runs into that space and cross the plane before Davon House and other Jaguars can make the tackle.

There is still room for improvement in the running game and also the running backs' involvement in the passing game. While the offense is averaging 39 2/3 points per game, this is far from a finished product. The Patriots will face some soft defenses in the next couple weeks, but will face some very tough match-ups later in the season when the Patriots play teams like Denver. While the two running backs have been productive when called upon, the level of play for the Patriots backs still needs to improve over the course of the season to give defenses another element to the offense. While Tom Brady has been playing on an entirely new level in the passing game, the Patriots backs need to be able to control the game late and grind their opponents to dust. 3.1 YPC isn't going to cut it against the upper-echelon teams (Denver, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati) in the AFC.