FOXBORO, Mass. — Did you have a smile on your face while you watched Dion Lewis slice through, spin past and leap over the Miami Dolphins’ defense Sunday? You weren’t alone.
Lewis’ New England Patriots teammates were equally giddy.
“He did a tremendous job today,” fellow running back Rex Burkhead said after the Patriots dispatched the Dolphins 35-17 at Gillette Stadium. “He was making guys miss, finishing runs and really just giving this offense a spark of energy. It’s fun to watch, and all of the running backs really enjoy it.”
Buried near the bottom of the depth chart to start the season, Lewis over the past two months has emerged as New England’s unquestioned No. 1 back. He’s led the Patriots in rushing every week during their current seven-game winning streak and racked up a career-high 112 yards on 15 carries against Miami.
Burkhead also contributed 50 rushing yards Sunday as the Patriots totaled 196 as a team — their highest single-game total since the Jonas Gray game in 2014.
“My job is to protect the ball and make plays,” Lewis said. “That’s my job in the offense, and that’s what I try to do every game.”
Fullback James Develin, who has excelled at clearing holes for the Patriots’ deep stable of backs this season, raved about Lewis’ production following the 27-year-old’s career game.
“Dion, I’m really proud of him,” Develin said Tuesday. “He’s done such a good job for us all year. Game in and game out, he just goes out there, does what we ask him to do and does it at a very high level. I’m a lucky guy to be able to just be in front of him and block for him. He’s such a dynamic runner, and he makes so many plays out of little creases. It’s fun to block for a guy like that, and it’s a blessing to have him behind me.”
Lewis, who missed the second half of the 2015 season and the first half of the 2016 campaign with a torn ACL, is running the ball better than he has at any point in his career, and history suggests that should continue over the final five weeks of the regular season.
His four best career performances in terms of yards from scrimmage have come against the Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Patriots have four games remaining against those three teams.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images