Sony Michel Breaks Down Game-Sealing Touchdown Vs. Colts: ‘It Was Wide Open’


Oct 5, 2018

FOXBORO, Mass. — The view Sony Michel saw after taking a handoff midway through the fourth quarter Thursday night was a running back’s dream.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski had diverted defensive end Kemoko Turay out of the play.

Left tackle Trent Brown and left guard Joe Thuney had taken care of defensive tackle Margus Hunt and linebacker Zaire Franklin

Center David Andrews had erased nose tackle Grover Stewart.

Wide receiver Julian Edelman had done his job on cornerback Pierre Desir.

And pulling right guard Shaq Mason had taken on linebacker Najee Good in the hole, creating a clear lane for Michel to dash through.

“It was wide open,” the New England Patriots rookie running back said. “The offensive line did a great job executing their assignments — everybody, receivers. It was wide open. Anybody could have run through that hole. I had to make one guy miss and just get in the end zone.”

Michel did just that, delivering a vicious stiff arm to the face of safety Matthias Farley to spring himself for a 34-yard touchdown run. The score, which came one play after a Jonathan Jones interception, was the dagger in New England’s 38-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium.

“They’re going to block their guys, and it’s all about running backs reading the hole,” Michel said. “(It is about) me being patient and letting it develop. I have so much trust and faith that those guys are going to do their job.”

Michel’s touchdown was the exclamation point on another strong performance by the first-round draft pick, who has come into his own after missing the preseason with a knee injury and struggling in his first two games at the NFL level. He carried the ball 18 times for 98 yards, averaging a career-best 5.4 yards per carry.

After managing just 84 rushing yards on 24 carries with no touchdowns in losses to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Detriot Lions, Michel has racked up 212 yards on 43 carries with two scores over the past two weeks.

Though the blocking in front of him undoubtedly has improved, Michel also has shown much more explosiveness of late, recording eight plays of 10-plus yards against the Miami Dolphins and Colts compared to just two against the Jags and Lions.

“I mean, he missed preseason, so he missed a lot of game reps,” said fellow running back James White, who caught 10 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown Thursday night. “So the more he’s out there, the better he’s going to get. He’s playing with more confidence, and he’ll continue to get better the more he’s out there.”

Though the Patriots continue to use Michel almost exclusively in the running game, he did have his best reception to date against the Colts, He picked up 12 yards on a screen pass from quarterback Tom Brady — his only target of the game — then ripped off a 14-yard run two snaps later.

“I wouldn’t say (I’m feeling) comfortable,” Michel said. “You never want to get to the point where you’re comfortable. You always want to get to the point where you can play and recognize how to get better. I will say we did a great job executing (Thursday) as an offense. We probably left yards on the field once when we go back and look at film, but (Thursday) was a great team win.”

Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images
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