After coming off a really tough loss to the Titans, the Patriots bounced right back and returned to their old form against the Jets. Gronk finally came back after missing the past two weeks with a couple nagging injuries, and Sony Michel also looked like he was back to full strength after a tough game against the Titans run defense, holding him to just 31 yards on 10 carries.
Throughout the game, it looked like Sony was just untouchable, running all over the Jets defense for a career-high 133 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries (73 before initial contact). This was also the most rushing yards by a Patriot since Jonas Grey in 2014.
Its been a shaky year for Sony since he missed all of the preseason and the first game after getting fluids drained from his knee, but he has been everything we could’ve asked for after drafting him in the first round. It was most likely never supposed to end up happening like this since Jeremy Hill tore his ACL and Rex Burkhead was placed on IR in Week 3, leaving only Sony and James White as the healthy backs. Evidently, it did turn out in Sony’s favor, though, because he got to prove why he was a first-round pick.
Throughout the first three games, it was pretty obvious how the Patriots were running things, Sony and Burkhead were the ground and pound backs while James White continued his role as the preferred passing-down back. Sony was never really gifted an entire workload while Burkhead was in the picture, his biggest game came in Week 3—where he only ran the ball 14 times for just 50 yards. It wasn’t that he couldn’t make do with those carries. It just wasn’t going to be like that all year. The opportunity just happened to come sooner than expected. For his first game as the lead back, Sony carried the ball a season-high of 25 times for 112 yards and a touchdown in a win over Miami.
After that game, Sony proved why he should be considered one the most important guys on our offense. After that, he continued to run all over defenses for the next couple games against the Colts and Chiefs for a total of 204 yards and 3 touchdowns. He has now rushed the ball 127 times for 586 yards and 5 touchdowns while averaging 4.3 YPC.
Production has been no issue for Sony in his career. He and Nick Chubb set a record at Georgia for most rushing yards by a duo in CFB history for 2,572 yards. He was never really the first option since he attended Georgia alongside Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb, but he still showed why he was one of the most dangerous runners in college football. He totaled 3,615 yards on 590 carries for 31 touchdowns. He may be one of the smaller backs but that won’t stop him from dragging a few people 10-15 extra yards with him.
The only thing that has taken its toll on Sony are injuries. Throughout his football career, Sony has suffered a torn ACL (in high school) along with a hand fracture, shoulder injury, sprained ankle, and re-injuring his knee during his tenure at Georgia. But, the Patriots have made it clear that they weren’t threatened by the injury history and they shouldn’t be. Sony did miss a couple games this year but it wasn’t like it had to do with non-contact injury, he just simply got his knee rolled up on the wrong way. He ended up just missing two games in which they won, but without Sony, the rushing attack takes a big hit.
You have to keep in mind that we don’t have too much depth at running back, Sony Burkhead and white are the only three active running backs on the roster. Getting Burkhead back from IR is good and all but I don’t really see him being much of a factor unless Sony gets hurt. If that were the case then I would assume Burkhead would hold his own but without Sony, the run game becomes less dynamic. As long as Sony is healthy I would expect nothing but good things from him, simply a star in the making.
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