It's no mystery that Tom Brady is the star of the New England Patriots offense, but when Dion Lewis was out of the lineup in Week 7, his absence was noticeable. In the first quarter of his return to action on Thursday night, Lewis showed the value he brings to the Patriots in one move against Miami Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi.
After receiving a short pass in the flat, Lewis faked a turn toward the middle of the field before turning back toward the sidelines, leaving Misi grasping at air.
The play resulted in 19 yards and Misi could only be blunt with reporters about the play after the game. Via Mike Reiss of ESPN:
"He juked the s--- out of me," Misi said, recalling one of the highlight-reel plays in the Patriots' 36-7 victory at Gillette Stadium.
It was an apt description of the type of play that Lewis has been making on a consistent basis for the Patriots.
While Lewis only had five rushes for 19 yards on the night, his six receptions went for 93 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown reception just before halftime. A Week 1 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers is the only game he had more than eight rushing attempts, but his involvement in the pass game has allowed the Patriots to be creative about getting him the ball.
And when the ball is in his hands, he can make things happen.
The 2011 fifth-round pick finally has a home in New England after bouncing between rosters in the first few seasons of his career. Two seasons after he was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, Lewis was traded to the Cleveland Browns, but never played for the team after a broken leg cost him all of 2013. He then spent a week with the Indianapolis Colts last year before sitting out the entire 2014 season.
Despite all of 39 touches in his first three seasons in the NFL, Lewis has proven valuable to the Patriots in 2015. So much so that the team gave him a two-year extension earlier in October, a rarity for a running back in New England. While the team didn't have much issue with the contracts of Shane Vereen or Stevan Ridley expiring, the Patriots ensured that Lewis would be with the team beyond 2015.
Misi was the latest victim of a Lewis juke and found out firsthand why the Patriots are making sure the running back isn't going anywhere.
"He's just different, someone we haven't played against this year," Misi said. "He's shifty, fast, makes guys miss, and gives them options because he can catch the ball and run well too."
Lewis is third on the Patriots in total yards from scrimmage, just behind Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. He is averaging 36.7 rushing yards per game and 58.2 receiving.
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