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Blount carries Patriots on his back in win over Buffalo Bills

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff  December 29, 2013 08:30 PM

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FOXBOROUGH -- Running back LeGarrette Blount accounted for a franchise record 334 all-purpose yards Sunday as the Patriots beat the Buffalo Bills in their regular season finale, 34-20.

Blount ran for 189 yards -- the most by a Patriots player since 1998 -- and returned two kickoffs for 145 yards to lead the Patriots over the Bills. He had touchdown runs of 36 and 35 yards.

"Obviously it was a tremendous game by LeGarrette [Blount]," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "Clearly the best player on the field, he had a tremendous day."

Belichick added, "he carried the team on his back most of the day. He had [334] yards, I don't know how much more we had besides that. But I'd say he did the bulk of it, no question. He had some help, but he did a great job; tremendous."

Blount, who was traded to the Patriots in the offseason for running back Jeff Demps and a 2013 seventh round draft choice, was formidable for the Patriots in poor weather conditions. Rain was ever-present, forcing the team to focus more on the run. Tom Brady finished with 24 pass attempts while the team had a season-high 43 rushing attempts.

"I like touching the ball no matter what the weather is, anyway," Blount said. "But I'm not going to argue with them if they feel like giving it to us.

"I feel like we had to man up and play tough football. You know with the conditions, whoever played better football physically was going to be the winner.

Blount made sure his presence was felt physically, as did Stevan Ridley, who had 12 carries for 74 yards. Both running backs did a great job of driving their feet and fighting for extra yardage. But Blount credited the offensive line for what he calls the unit's top performance of the season.

"All we had to do was find the holes," he said. "They blocked tremendous. They had an amazing game. It was one of our best games yet by our offensive line. And they've played amazing throughout the whole season and they definitely came through for us big time today. You can't say enough about those guys, they're tough."

The Bills saw the gamut of Blount's skills, including his speed as a kick returner. He took his first return 83 yards before he was brought down. His second went for 62. He thought he had a touchdown on the first.

"Me being the size I am, it's different," Blount said. "It brings a whole other dimension to my game for the fact that people have to respect my speed as well."

He credits the Patriots' special teams crew, including Matthew Slater, for flawless execution on the returns.

"On the returns that I had, I didn't get touched for like the first 30 yards though," he said.

He added: "We've been close a few times. But those few times it's been us, it's been the returners that haven't run the return to the point where we could've broken it. We finally got to the point where we ran it perfectly and they blocked it perfectly and it broke.

Now, the Patriots get a chance to rest with a first-round bye secured thanks to Sunday's win. And you can expect Blount to continue to be a punishing rusher for the Patriots, a role he has relished in since his arrival.

"I'm going to go out there and I'm gonna play my game," he said. "I'm going to go out there and play physical, I'm gonna run hard, and I'm gonna fight for extra yardage. [I'll] do everything I can to win the next game."

In his fourth season, it'll be his first playoff appearance.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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