New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: LeGarrette Blount #29 of the New England Patriots looks on before the game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

It’s been almost four years since running back LeGarrette Blount played his final game with the New England Patriots.

While it ended on the highest note possible, with Blount among those mobbing James White in the endzone after his overtime score to win Super Bowl 51, it wasn’t the final game of Blount’s career. That instead came on Dec. 30, 2018 as a member of the Lions, and in between a Super Bowl title with the Eagles.

But if you ask the now 34-year-old Blount, who appeared on The Pat McAfee Show earlier this week, it’s been since then that the Patriots have had a back of Blount’s caliber.

“If you got a nice a running back, [teams] think that in the next couple years there might be another nice running back like you or another nice running back like you,” Blount told McAfee. “To this day, I don’t think the Eagles have been able to replace me and to this day I don’t think the Patriots have been able to replace me.”

It might sound completely nuts, but Blount may have a point.

At least from a pure statistical standpoint, anyway.

In his final season with the Patriots, Blount rushed for 1,161 yards to go with a league-leading 18 touchdowns. Since then, no Patriot has hit the 1,000-yard mark on the ground. Sony Michel came the closest, with his 931 yards on the ground in 2018. And no Patriot back has hit double-digit rushing touchdowns, with Michel’s seven ground scores in 2018 and 2019 standing as the single-most among all New England runners over that three-season sample.

HOUSTON, TX – FEBRUARY 05: LeGarrette Blount #29 of the New England Patriots warms up prior to Super Bowl 51 against the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

That yardage stat in Blount’s favor may change this season, as second-year pro Damien Harris has emerged as the Patriots’ No. 1 running back, with 561 rushing yards to his name and another five games left in the 2020 season. But it’s no lock.

So, factually speaking, Blount is right about the Patriots’ inability to replace his 2016 production.

There is one flaw in Blount’s argument, however, and it comes back to the Patriots’ final Super Bowl run of the Tom Brady Era.

It was during that run that the then-rookie Michel ran for 336 total yards and six scores over three postseason games. Those 336 yards were the 14th-most in any single playoff run in NFL history, and the fourth-most among all running backs since the 2000 season, trailing only Jamal Lewis (2000), Le’Veon Bell (2016), and Derrick Henry (2019). And Michel’s six touchdowns during that postseason run are the second-most in any single playoff run in league history, just two behind Terrell Davis and his eight ground scores for the Denver Broncos during the 1997 season.

That was certainly more than Blount gave them in his final New England run, with Blount bottled up for 31 yards on 11 carries in Super Bowl 51 before the Patriots had to abandon him entirely in favor of the pass-catching dynamo White to complete the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. (Blount didn’t have a single 100-yard game during that playoff run.)

That said, Blount did play a major part in at least one of New England’s Super Bowl runs, with a punishing 148 yards and three scores in the team’s AFC Championship Game blowout win over the Indianapolis Colts on their way to banner No. 5.

A Patriot for 49 games over two separate runs, Blount ranks 10th on the franchise’s all-time rushing yards list, with 2,917. His 34 rushing touchdowns over that 49-game New England run rank as the fifth-most in team history.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.