Tom Brady wasn’t killing the comp in New England’s 34-16 AFC Divisional Round win over the outclassed Texans. In fact, after throwing 28 TDs and just two picks this season, Brady was picked off two times by Romeo Crennel’s Houston D led by chest-wrecker Jadeveon Clowney.
Brady's saving grace was Dion Lewis, who became the first player in NFL history to notch a receiving TD, a rushing TD and return a kickoff to the crib in a playoff game.
“They trusted me a lot today,” Lewis said on the field after the game. “ I was able to make some plays.”
Lewis might not be a household name, but that’s going to change quickly if he keeps bombing on that endzone throughout these playoffs. He’s already got an inspirational story of resilience and coming back from injury to hang his hat on. That’s always a good look for a football player.
Now he’s got an NFL record on his resume and it’s no fluke.
While Lewis is never mentioned when discussing the Patriots most deadly playmakers (playing just 14 games in two seasons will do that), the dual-threat speedster has an abundance of talent. In college at Pittsburgh, he set the Big East freshman rushing record previously held by NFL Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett back in 2009.
When he got to the NFL as a fifth round pick in 2011, he was underutilized in two seasons in Philly and after being traded to the Cleveland Browns in 2013, he missed the entire season due to a fractured fibula and was cut. He didn’t play a snap with the Colts in 2014 and eventually came to the Pats in 2015 and started making offensive contributions to the squad.
In November of 2015 Lewis suffered a torn ACL against the Washington Redskins, causing him to miss the remainder of the season as the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl. In August of 2016, Lewis was placed on the Reserve/PUP list to start the season after a second knee surgery and he was watching the Pats playoff episode from his coach at home.
Things are different this season.
“Means a lot to be out here and help my team win,” said Lewis. “Last year I wasn’t and that hurt.
Lewis is the latest Pats player to come up huge for Bill Belichick and Brady in the clutch in the playoffs.
He caught caught the game’s first TD and few minutes later he answered a Houston field goal by returning a kickoff 89 yards for the Patriots first-ever postseason kickoff return for a TD. Then as the Texans tried to muster a rally and pull off an upset, Lewis scored on a run.
I guess that would be a football cycle.