Bill Belichick praises LeGarrette Blount: ‘He carried the team on his back’

LeGarrette Blount rushed for 189 yards and two touchdowns to lead the New England Patriots to a 34-20 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

“Once again, I thought it was a good, solid effort by our team,” said coach Bill Belichick after the game. “We got great contributions in all three phases. Obviously it was a tremendous game by LeGarrette [Blount]; clearly the best player on the field, he had a tremendous day.”

Blount also helped on special teams with kickoff returns of 83 and 62 yards.

“He carried the team on his back most of the day,” said Belichick. “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.”

Belichick wasn’t surprised that the 6-foot, 250-pound back could return kickoffs so well.

“I think he’s got good running skills,” the Patriots coach said of Blount. “We’ve seen him. He’s not a fullback out there. He’s got some quickness, got good vision, got excellent elusiveness in the secondary which is kind of what kickoff returns are. I think that the big thing for him is judging the ball and handling the ball on those kicks because he’s hasn’t had a lot of experience doing it but he’s worked hard at it. I’d say he’s definitely improved. Everybody is confident in him.”

Belichick later added: “He’s a good football player who loves to play, works hard and is a team player; great guy for the team in the locker room. He’s been all those things.”

Tom Brady threw for 122 yards, a touchdown and an interception in a steady downpour against a team leading the NFL in sacks and second in interceptions.

Stephen Gostkowski helped the Patriots (12-4) secure a first-round AFC bye with three field goals in the first-half and one in the second.

The Patriots finished with the second seed in the AFC behind the Denver Broncos, who beat the Oakland Raiders 34-14.

“We’re excited to be 12-4 and moving into the playoffs,” Belichick said. “We still have a lot of work to do. I still think we can do things better than what we’re doing, which we’ll need to whoever we play; it will be a tough opponent, whoever the next opponent is. Hopefully we can play our best football whenever that time comes in a couple weeks.”

Brady punts the ball:

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