The world always lights up at a Tom Brady dime up the sidelines, or at Julian Edelman breaking free for a long catch-and-run, or even at Josh Gordon toasting a cornerback down the field for a jump ball in a one-on-one situation. However, Sony Michel’s impact has helped all those specific plays happen, and it shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Michel’s play hasn’t gone under appreciated the last few weeks. However, his role in the offense is much more important than people think and it should be talked about more. In the three games since the famous, “He Sucks, He Blows!” comment from Tony Massarotti of 98.5 the Sports Hub after the disappointing loss in Detroit, the rookie runner has totaled 316 rushing yards on 67 carries (4.7 YPC) and four touchdowns.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the running game has set up the passing game and made things easier for Tom Brady. Btut the job Michel has done, especially for a rookie who missed basically all of training camp, is super impressive: Michel has been superb inside the tackles with fullback James Develin (who sometimes goes unnoticed) leading the way up front.
Michel’s patience finding the correct holes to run through has allowed him to string together some big plays for the Patriots over the past three games. If you can remember, New England’s ground game was a virtual non-factor during the first three weeks of the season and was allowing teams to just force Tom Brady to sit back there and throw several balls into double coverage.
Michel’s consistency running the ball has also allowed for James White to get open in the flat and allow for several one-on-ones with the Patriots receivers because it’s forcing the defense to bite and respect the run. It has noticeably gotten even better the last two weeks with Julian Edelman back running his famous routes across the middle.
Sure, Tom Brady, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski are the three top players on this offense and it struggles without either of them on the field. However, without Sony Michel this year, who really knows where this Patriots season would be right now.
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