Sunday, December 27, 2009
Pats hit season high for rushing yards
By Mike Reiss
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- As the Patriots position themselves for what they hope will be a deep run in the playoffs, they have rediscovered their running game in a big way.
Sammy Morris had a 95 yards rushing on 12 carries, including a 55-yard run.
Their 197 rushing yards in Sunday's 35-7 win over the Jaguars was a season high, besting the previous mark of 193, against Tennessee.
"Sammy [Morris] really got hot and was running the ball great, and so we kept giving it to him," coach Bill Belichick said. "And we were able to get Fred [Taylor] some carries there at the end, which will benefit us in the long run. All of our backs were productive."
The only downer was Laurence Maroney's fumble at the goal line on the first drive. Maroney didn't play again after the miscue.
Morris led the way with 95 yards on 12 carries, with his best run coming in the second quarter when he rumbled 55 yards behind lead-blocking offensive lineman-turned-fullback Dan Connolly (6-foot-4, 313 pounds).
"It always starts up front," Morris said, crediting the offensive line of Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Dan Koppen, Stephen Neal and Sebastian Vollmer. "We have a lot of ability up front, some talent, some big guys, some agile guys. Tom [Brady] made the alert [to change the play] and we were able to get in the right position to make a good play."
Kevin Faulk (6 carries, 41 yards), Taylor (11 carries, 35 yards), Maroney (5 carries, 22 yards) and Brady (2 carries, 4 yards) rounded out the rushing attack.
As for Maroney's miscue, Taylor said he spoke with him about it during the game.
"I just told him, 'In all situations, try to pull something positive from it,'" Taylor relayed. "So just be patient, find a positive, and keep your head up."