Monday, October 1, 2012

Patriots leaning a little more on run so far in 2012


The New England Patriots have boasted arguably the league's best pass-driven offense over the past decade. But this season has a different look.

New England's offensive line was in question entering the season with retirement and injuries causing a minor overhaul in personnel. The Patriots countered their shortcomings in pass protection with a bigger emphasis on running the ball, as they have attempted the second-most rushes in the NFL through four games as of Monday morning.

The Patriots boast a league-most 46 first downs via the run and are eighth in rushing yards per game with 144.

In the Patriots' 52-28 victory over the Buffalo Bills Sunday, New England had two 100-yard rushers for the first time since 1980, as second-year tailback Stevan Ridley went for 106 and rookie Brandon Bolden gained 137.

Also, New England tied a team record with four rushing touchdowns, getting two ground scores from Ridley, one from Bolden and one from quarterback Tom Brady.

"Our line, our tight ends, our backs; they all did a good job," Patriots coach Bill Belichick told the media after the win. "We were a little disappointed in our running production the last couple games, and we really made a big emphasis this game. We worked hard on it in practice and we were able to have some good results today.

"You can’t say enough about the offensive line, though. These guys have a good front and we were able to block them."

New England's passing and rushing attacks are at a dead heat in scoring so far this season with seven touchdowns apiece.

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