Saturday night at Gillette Stadium, Rex Burkhead’s career-high 77 receiving yards were met by 20 rushing yards.
Along with the game’s final touchdown.
“Yep, he’s a good receiver, good runner, plays for us in the kicking game,” head coach Bill Belichick said in his press conference afterward. “I mean, he’s a solid four-down player.”
But Burkhead had amassed more yards from scrimmage only twice before since entering the league with the Cincinnati Bengals. The 29-year-old running back had amassed more only once before as a member of the New England Patriots.
Burkhead’s top NFL game logs between the ground and the air can be revised now.
Three of his most productive six have arrived against the Buffalo Bills in the month of December.
BURKHEAD’S TOP YARDS FROM SCRIMMAGE
79: Dec. 23, 2018 vs. Bills – The Patriots defeated the Bills, 24-12, on an afternoon in which quarterback Tom Brady completed 13 passes for 126 yards. On the receiving end of four of those passes for 40 yards was Burkhead. Buffalo’s Corey Thompson and Tre’Davious White jarred a fumble loose on a screen play to the utility back, who also handled 13 carries for 39 rushing yards. Fellow Patriots rushers Sony Michel, James White and Cordarrelle Patterson combined for 223 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 30 carries.
83: Oct. 29, 2017 vs. Chargers – New England put forth a 21-13 win over Los Angeles, while Burkhead caught a team-high seven passes for 68 yards and tacked on four rushes for 15 yards. Dion Lewis and Mike Gillislee also resided in the Patriots’ committee that fall. And that day, the Chargers’ Travis Benjamin lost eight yards on a punt return that became a safety for core special-teamer Brandon King.
85: Sept. 8, 2019 vs. Steelers – The 2019 season opener against Pittsburgh brought along eight rushes for 44 yards and five receptions for 41 yards. Burkhead and the Patriots ran away in 33-3 fashion, with a trio of Brady touchdown passes heading in the direction of wideouts Phillip Dorsett and Josh Gordon. Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger handed the football off a dozen times. His running backs rushed for 25 yards against the New England front.
97: Dec. 21, 2019 vs. Bills – Burkhead’s performance in Saturday’s AFC East clincher included a 31-yard pickup in the passing game and a goal-line touchdown on the ground. It also included a screen play on New England’s initial drive. That screen saw Jordan Poyer force the ball out, with fellow Bills safety Micah Hyde taking in the other way. But Burkhead touched the ball an additional eight times for the Patriots, setting his new apex in receiving yards.
103: Dec. 3, 2017 vs. Bills – The December visit to New Era Field brought along 78 rushing yards, 25 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns for Burkhead. But it was Rob Gronkowski’s day, too. The All-Pro tight end tallied nine receptions for 147 yards in his old stomping grounds. New England won by a score of 23-3. Quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor, Nathan Peterman and Joe Webb all attempted passes for Buffalo. Linebacker Eric Lee, signed off the Bills’ practice squad, notched 1.5 sacks and an interception.
144: Jan. 1, 2017 vs. Ravens – Cincinnati running backs Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard were sidelined on New Year’s Day 2017 versus Baltimore. Burkhead wasn’t. The former sixth-round pick out of Nebraska saw his final game as a Bengal include 29 offensive touches. And with those touches, Burkhead amassed 119 yards rushing, 25 yards receiving and two scores. The finale accounted for 21 percent of his career yards from scrimmage at the time. Half of his touchdowns, as well. Burkhead signed with New England in the months that followed.