With the New England Patriots about to turn the page into Week 7, it was interesting to go through the totals compared to 2021 and see just how much more they’re learning on the ground game compared to last season.
And the difference is significant. By quite a bit.
At this point in the 2021 season, the Patriots had run 362 offensive plays, which after a review is the exact same number they’ve run through six games in 2022. Last season, they had converted 102 (excluding penalties) first downs, and they’ve actually increased that number by four at 106 (again, excluding penalties) this season.
But the rushing totals are where the numbers are surprising.
Last season, at this point in the year the Patriots had rushed the football 136 times for 520-yards along with five touchdowns, led by Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson. Harris had 81 carries for 331-yards and three touchdowns, while Stevenson had carried 17 times for 48-yards and one touchdown. James White, who had gotten hurt in week three against New Orleans, was next behind Stevenson with 10 carries for 38-yards along with one touchdown.
But this season, the emphasis on the run has been much higher, with the team having carried 178 times for 788-yards and 8 touchdowns through six games.
This time, Stevenson sits atop the leaderboard having carried 87 times for 448-yards (5.1 avg) along with three touchdowns, ahead of Harris’ 57 carries for 257-yards (4.5 avg) and three touchdowns. Harris left last week’s game with a hamstring injury and missed Sunday’s game in Cleveland, with Stevenson carrying 19 times for 76 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Patriots evened their record at 3-3 against the Browns.
Stevenson has also quietly been seeing more time in the passing game, with the running back currently sitting with the second-most receptions on the team with 17 catches for 86-yards through week six.
With Mac Jones sidelined, these last three games have seen a total of 97 rushes for 441-yards (4.5 avg) collectively, with four touchdowns. That’s compared to 81 carries for 347-yards (4.3 avg) and 4 touchdowns over the first three games.
The offensive line continues to get better, and the Patriots have certainly reaped the benefits in the last few weeks. Fans should definitely enjoy it, because we could be seeing what could be the final run of a pretty talented duo in their backfield.
Harris, who was a former 3rd round pick out of Alabama in 2019, is set to become a free agent after this season.
Posted Under: 2022 Patriots Season
Tags: 2022 Patriots Season Damien Harris New England Patriots Rhamondre Stevenson