James Develin has accrued 1,771 career snaps in the New England Patriots’ offense.
Including the postseason, he’s been asked to carry the football on 13 of them.
So when the neck-rolled fullback by way of the Brown Bears, Florida Tuskers, Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz and Cincinnati Bengals found himself in the end zone twice on Sunday, the occurrence proved as unique as his itinerary.
“Honestly, I’ve never dreamt about a game like this,” Develin told reporters in the locker room following New England’s 24-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings. “This is the first time I’ve ever thought about it. I know my role, and that is to get these other guys in the end zone, but it’s a really cool experience to get in myself. I’m thankful for the coaches having the confidence to call those plays, and thankful for our offensive line doing a great job opening up holes.”
A converted defensive lineman and eventual Pro Bowler, Develin has caught passes, including one for a TD in the January 2015 AFC title game. He’s split out wide. He’s huddled as a tight end. He’s protected on field goals, blocked on kickoff returns and covered on punts.
But the 30-year-old would note Sunday that he’d never logged a two-touchdown game at any level.
Doing so versus Minnesota doubled Develin’s total rushing scores at the NFL level.
Not what you’d expect with James White, Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead all active in New England’s backfield. Not what you’d expect even if they weren’t.
Develin had once gone 1,512 days between handoffs. He had once gone 1,806 days between turning them into six points.
He’s now got five carries for six yards and three touchdowns since the middle of November.
“Not many teams use a fullback across the league,” White said during his postgame press conference. “We are one that does.”
“Pretty sweet,” added quarterback Tom Brady. “He usually doesn’t get those.”
Which should make Develin’s timeline of carries an all the more appreciated one.
DEVELIN’S CAREER RUSHING LOG
Dec. 1, 2013: 34-31 win over Texans
- 8:24 in second quarter on third-and-1 – three yards
- 12:49 in third quarter on first-and-goal – one yard, touchdown
Dec. 15, 2013: 24-10 loss to Dolphins
- 8:10 in first quarter on third-and-2 – two yards
Dec. 29, 2013: 34-20 win over Bills
- 11:39 in third quarter on third-and-1 – four yards
Jan. 11, 2014: 43-22 win over Colts
- 1:24 in third quarter on third-and-1 – no gain
Oct. 5, 2014: 43-17 win over Bengals
- 11:52 in first quarter on third-and-1 – no gain
- 6:22 in fourth quarter on first-and-10 – five yards
Oct. 12, 2014: 37-22 win over Bills
- 1:38 in first quarter on third-and-1 – no gain
Nov. 11, 2018: 34-10 loss to Titans
- 12:54 in second quarter on second-and-goal – one yard, touchdown
Dec. 2, 2018: 24-10 win over Vikings
- 9:36 in first quarter on second-and-goal – one yard, touchdown
- 10:57 in fourth quarter on first-and-goal – two yards, touchdown
- 3:14 in fourth quarter on third-and-1 – one yard
- 1:49 in fourth quarter on first-and-17 – one yard
Altogether, Develin’s 13 rushes have gained 21 yards.
They’ve brought along eight first downs and four touchdowns – with his most recent trio coming on consecutive rushes between the Tennessee and Minnesota matchups.
Develin has been tackled by the likes of Kyle Williams, Everson Griffen, Da’Norris Searcy, Domata Peko, Whitney Mercilus, Emmanuel Lamur, Linval Joseph, Ty Powell, Koa Misi, Wallace Gilberry, Antoine Bethea, LaRon Landry, Devon Still and Jaleel Johnson dating back to his initial turn with the ball.
The 6-foot-3, 255-pound lead blocker has finished at the line of scrimmage on four occasions, and a yard beyond it on five occasions.
That’s part of the straightforward deal.
Half of Develin’s rushing opportunities have come in third-and-short situations, and a quarter of them have come when the goal is all that’s left to go. His longest run since arriving in Foxborough on the practice squad in September 2012 was “on to Cincinnati” and for a gain of five yards.
But Develin didn’t need to gain more than one or two on Sunday.
He didn’t need much of a head start out of I-formation to get where he ended up.