November 08, 2004
Patriots' Dillon a Difference Maker
BY: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com
FOXBORO, MA -- With a quarterback like Tom Brady, many wondered during the offseason what the Patriots would be like with a running back like Corey Dillon.
The answer? A more dangerous football team.
Brady has already established himself as a terrific play-action passer, but the fakes become meaningless if the person he's faking the handoff to doesn't cause the defense concern. Thusfar in the seven games he's played in, he's averaged 107 yards per game, and has given the Patriots a legitimate ground threat which has opened things up for quarterback Tom Brady. After missing last week's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dillon's absence from the lineup was definitely felt. Brady was sacked four times, his highest sack total of the season, and was frequently under pressure. To make matters worse for New England, the Steelers were able to get an early lead and force the Patriots to play from behind.
As the lead increased, Pittsburgh was able to pin back their ears and keep coming at Brady, and the Steelers defense forced four turnovers. In the end the Patriots simply couldn't overcome the deficit with a one-dimensional offense.
But with Dillon back in the lineup, his 25 carry, 112 yard performance along with a touchdown on Sunday was simply another day at the office for the Patriots veteran. However he admitted after the game that he was surprised that coming back from his thigh injury that kept him out of last week’s game against Pittsburgh that he was able to be so effective.
"By no means did I think I was going to come in here and blaze it up all day," Dillon told the Boston Herald. "That's a tough defense and that's a well-coached team and we had to fight for 60 minutes, and that's what we did."
"Seeing that (loss to Pittsburgh) just rededicated everybody to do what we've got to do. I just wanted to do something to get this team back rolling."
Dillon has 100 yards or more rushing in four of the seven games he’s played in so far this season, and Sunday's game was his third consecutive 100+ performance. His addition to the offense has been instrumental to the team’s success, and in each of his 100-yard appearances the Patriots are converting 50% of their third downs, allowing the offense to move the chains, which is opening up plenty of scoring opportunities. That was definitely the case after New England was able to put up 40 points against St. Louis in their home stadium on Sunday.
"Corey did a great job today," Belichick told reporters after the game. "Corey’s a big back, he gets a lot of tough yards and he can make some plays in the open field. He’s a good player, [and] he played good today."
"We did a great job of moving (the chains) and that was the big goal this week," Brady told reporters after the game. "The offense wanted to be out on the field and we were out there controlling the clock and scoring points. We did that, and the defense had a great game pressuring the quarterback all day."
During the offseason the Patriots knew they needed a difference maker in their backfield. Now with #28 lining up for them it looks like they’ve finally got one.
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