Maroney on the money

On December 16, 2007, Laurence Maroney carried the ball 26 times for 104 yards. He had not cracked 20 carries in game since then until yesterday, when he rushed 20 times for 82 yards and a touchdown.

Injuries to Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris presented Maroney to reclaim prominence in the Patriots backfield, which he lost last year when a shoulder injury derailed his season. In the three weeks the Patriots have played without Taylor and Morris, Maroney has rushed 49 times for 248 yards, an average of 5.1 per carry.

“Laurence is ready to play every week,” Belichick said. “He came into the season healthy. He had a good spring. He had a good offseason program, a good training camp. He’s been out there every day working hard. He hasn’t any limitations. He’s been on the field on a consistent basis. He’s worked hard, and he’s been ready to go every week.”

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On Sunday, the Patriots made clear they had no qualms making him a focal piece of their offense. Maroney carried the ball on six of the Patriots first 13 plays, gaining 36 yards with a touchdown.

Maroney averaged just more than four yards despite having a long of 10. He may not have broken any game-changing plays, but he consistently moved the ball. Maroney did not lose ground on any of his 20 carries.

“The bottom line is, I think Laurence has run the ball pretty well all year,” Belichick said. “When he’s had space, he’s been able to make yards. When he hasn’t, he’s run hard and kind of gotten what’s there. When he’s had opportunities, he’s made good yardage.”