For the seventh time this season, a Patriots player has been named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week. After a career-high 129 rushing yards, Patriots running back, Dion Lewis, was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week. His 129 yards came on 24 carries. In addition, he added 24 yards in the air on five receptions. He had two total touchdowns. One on the ground and one through the air.
It was the second time in 2017 that Lewis broke 100 yards rushing. However, his 24 carries were by far the highest of the season. The next highest total is 15 carries, which he has done three times this season. In addition, it was his first multi-touchdown game of the season. Over a year removed from his latest ACL injury, Lewis is the healthiest he has been his entire career. Assuming he dresses on Sunday in the season finale, he will have played 16 games for the first time in his career.
“He’s been incredible,” said Brady after the win over the Bills. “He got here and no one really knew much about him a few years about and he got an opportunity and took advantage of it and played unbelievable for 10-11 weeks and then got injured and fought really hard last year to get back to full strength and came in this year and you just can’t say enough good things about him and what he’s done.”
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Lewis has 977 total yards on the year. A career high, 803 yards rushing and 174 yards receiving highlight his resurgent season. Previously, Lewis never cracked 300 yards rushing over the course of the entire season. In addition, he has seven total touchdowns with no turnovers. Despite his small stature, Lewis is one of the best backs in the league in yards after contact. A testament to his incredible work ethic.
“I mean, he’s an unbelievable player,” said Rob Gronkowski after the game against the Bills. “He’s a beast for his size. I look up to him. The way he plays, the way he doesn’t let people take him down inspires me because I’m like, ‘If that guy can do that, why can’t I be able to break tackles like that?’ So that just shows his inspiration of how hard he plays, how hard he works and a great dude to have on the team.”
After LeGarrette Blount signed with the Eagles in the offseason (one of Lewis’ former teams), questions existed as to who becomes the lead back in the Patriots offense. Most assumed newcomer, Mike Gillislee, would carry the load. However, it has been Lewis who has seized the opportunity. Last year in the Divisional Round against the Texans, Lewis gave everyone a glimpse of what his talent can produce. This year, Lewis has proven that it is sustainable. Now, he has another opportunity to make his mark in the playoffs as THE guy in the New England backfield.