New England Patriots fans surely were thrilled to see Dion Lewis take the field Sunday for the first time in more than a year.
LeGarrette Blount was right there with them.
“I was excited about him being out there,” Blount told reporters after the game. “I love him to death. Our running back group is probably one of the most close-knit groups on the team, and we’re always going to have each other’s back. We don’t care about anything personally when it comes to this game. We just want to win games and show each other support. Every time he’s out there, I’m easily his No. 1 fan.”
Blount was New England’s primary ball carrier while Lewis recovered from the torn ACL he suffered last November. The bruising veteran back has racked up 201 rushing attempts this season, tying his career high. No other Patriots player has recorded more than 28.
The Patriots eased Lewis back into the mix Sunday, putting him on the field for just 21 offensive snaps. He touched the ball on eight of those snaps, rushing five times for 23 yards and catching three passes for 26 yards.
Blount, meanwhile, remained New England’s featured back, gashing the Niners’ porous run defense for 124 yards — just 3 shy of his season high — on 19 carries. It was Blount’s fourth 100-yard rushing effort of the season, and it included the longest run of the year by any Patriots player: a 44-yard scamper that wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell helped set up with some stellar downfield blocking.
Thumbnail photo via Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports Images