Winner: RB Dion Lewis
Lewis gained 93 rushing yards, 40 receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns on the game. He finishes the regular season with a 5.0 yards per carry rate and 1,110 yards from scrimmage. He’s been an extremely reliable part of the Patriots offense down the final stretch as Tom Brady deals with some struggles after all of the hits he took in the first game against the Miami Dolphins.
Lewis will probably share the backfield with Rex Burkhead and James White in the postseason when they’re both healthy, but he’s shown he can be the guy and should get more opportunities for the rest of the year.
Winner: WR Danny Amendola on the opening drive
Amendola was unstoppable on the Patriots opening drive, reeling in all four targets for 43 yards as New England marched down the field for a touchdown and early 7-0 lead, which proved to be all they really needed. Amendola was clutch, as always, and really delivered when his number was called.
Loser: WR Danny Amendola for the rest of the game
Amendola saw three targets for the rest of the game and caught none of them. What the heck happened? It’s not like he wasn’t playing and he wasn’t being kept out of harm’s way as he continued to return punts. It was just a curious rest of the game for Amendola.
Loser: Depth offensive skill players
Brandin Cooks gained 79 yards and a touchdown on 5 receptions, 8 rushing yards, and he also drew a 39-yard defensive pass interference call and two defensive holding calls. He had a great day, despite an ugly drop and giving up on a deep pass, and he’ll finish the regular season with 1,122 yards from scrimmage and 7 touchdowns.
But he’s a starter and is expected to produce like that. What happened to everyone else?
Phillip Dorsett added 26 receiving yards on 5 targets, including a bad drop on a big pass. Dwayne Allen, Jacob Hollister, James Develin, and Kenny Britt combined for 0 catches on 5 targets. None of the other depth players emerged when the Patriots needed someone to step up.
The return of Chris Hogan is an extremely important development for New England.
Winner: DL Lawrence Guy
Guy had two tackles for loss and three additional run stuffs to set up second-and-long situations. He outplayed Malcom Brown, who also had a reliably solid day. If Guy can play at this level for the rest of the year, then the Patriots will have fixed one of their biggest defensive weaknesses: run defense.
Winner: DL James Harrison
Harrison played 27 snaps in his first game for the Patriots (he played just 40 snaps in his previous 15 games with the Steelers), where he racked up 5 tackles, 2 sacks, and a forced fumble. He also recorded a nice third down open field stop.
He should slide right into the defensive end rotation and provide a nice boost for an inconsistent pass rush.
Winner: LB Marquis Flowers
Flowers added another sack, along with four solo tackles, as he continues to play like the best non-Kyle Van Noy linebacker on the roster. Elandon Roberts continues to make head-scratching decisions against the run, leading to huge gains, and that just keeps the door open for Flowers to make plays and earn more time on the field.
Loser: The AFC
The Patriots have homefield advantage. They’ve reached the Super Bowl the past three times they had the #1 seed. Good luck, AFC.