Being named AFC Offensive Player of the Week, and being featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in the same week means you’re having an amazing week. That’s the kind of week Patriots Running Back Jonas Gray is having. But can Gray keep doing what he did against Indianapolis last week?
A month after being on the practice squad, Gray rushed for 199 201 yards, and 4 touchdowns for the Patriots against the Indianapolis Colts. Gray and the Patriots absolutely dominated the line, and Gray made it look extremely easy to run through the Colts defense. He was simply unstoppable.
It’s seemed like forever since the Patriots had a decent running game, and in their defense, they haven’t needed much run support since they have Tom Brady throwing the football. Although it seems like forever ago since the Patriots had a running back that could run, the team has seen other players do similar things.
Just last season, LaGarrette Blount had an amazing week against the Buffalo Bills in week 17 in rainy Foxboro. After that one game, Patriots fan had thought they finally found a running back that was dependable. Blount had 2 touchdowns on 189 rushing yards, and accumulated 145 yards on 2 kick returns in the game. In fact just like Gray, he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated that following week.
2 weeks later in the playoffs against the Colts he ran for another 166 yards and 4 touchdowns. 2 games in a row he seemed unstoppable. But now if we compare that to what Jonas Gray did last week maybe we can take into consideration that Bill Belichick knows how to game plan against the Colts and knew exactly how to get a running back through the line and down the field. It was the same team in which Blount rushed for 4 touchdowns.
The very next week in the AFC Championship game, he had just 6 yards on 5 carries. 6. Yards. Blount is now unemployed after being released by the Steelers this week.
In a September game against the Bills in 2012, Brandon Bolden had 137 rushing yards and 1 touchdown in a Patriots blowout, and although he’s a still a member of the Patriots, he hasn’t come close to reaching that mark again, and it would be surprising to see him do it again.
Just like every other Patriots fan, I hope Jonas Gray is the real deal. I would love to see him be a major factor for the Patriots down the stretch, but there’s no way we can call him the rushing savior. It was one game, against a team that Belichick and his staff knew how to run against.
This week the Patriots take on the Detroit Lions who are one of the best defenses in all of the NFL. The defense is only averaging giving up 15 points per game, and they’ve only allowed one team to rush for more than 100 yards total against them, which were the Jets in week 4. If Gray can get 40 yards against this defense it could be considered a success, but let’s not expect too much from him.
Come playoff time, we might forget Jonas Gray is even on this team.