, Newburyport, MA


January 13, 2014

Blount a force for Patriots

Running back Blount goes from unwanted to unstoppable

FOXBOROUGH — He is nothing short of a human battering ram. A man whose enormous stature grows that much more jarring when you approach him at close proximity.

He is 6-foot-1, 250-plus pounds of budging muscle with dreadlocks, tree trunks for legs, a scowl and a burst of speed that a man his size has no right to possess.

With the Patriots just one victory away from a return trip to the Super Bowl, LeGarrette Blount has become the toast of New England.

The running back who less than a year ago was jettisoned by a team that would finish 2013 with just four wins, and who had to scratch and claw for a spot on the Patriots’ roster, has now transformed into New England’s most dynamic running back, and, man, that has made Bill Belichick and company rethink the way they call an offense.

Suddenly, if the Patriots are to advance to New York to play for their fourth Super Bowl title in the Tom Brady/Belichick era — with a victory on Sunday afternoon when they travel to Denver for the AFC championship game — Blount will be looked upon to play a crucial role.

“I’m so proud of him,” said longtime teammate and friend Aqib Talib. “He’s waited for this for a long time. He’s a confident guy that always believed in himself. He wanted the carries. It was only a matter of time until he broke through.”

But like this? With one of the greatest postseason performances by a running back in NFL history? And no, that is not an exaggeration. Blount’s night on Saturday was nothing short of historic.

His four rushing touchdown runs against Indianapolis were just one fewer than the NFL playoff record, set by three-time All-Pro Ricky Watters of the San Francisco 49ers in 1993. No other back has ever scored more than three times.

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