During last January's divisional playoff game against the Colts, LeGarrette Blount rushed for 166 yards on 24 carries, and scored four touchdowns. On Sunday, in the AFC Championship Game against -- you guessed it -- the Colts, Blount rushed 30 times for 148 yards and three more scores.
It's been quite the season for Blount, who signed with the Steelers in the offseason, but was released in Week 12 after he left the field early during a Titans game, presumably because he was unhappy with his playing time. The Patriots quickly signed him and in five games, Blount rushed for 281 yards (4.7 YPC) and three scores.
But on Sunday, he set the tone, one the Colts didn't have an answer for, and one that will be critical to the Patriots' chances when they face the Seahawks in the Super Bowl in two weeks.
"He ran his [butt] off, ran hard for four quarters," backfield mate Shane Vereen said of Blount, via ESPN.com. "Coming into the game, we didn't know what the game plan was going to be, because we didn't know really what to expect from the Colts' defense. We were expecting some wrinkles but we were able to run the ball."
Blount added: "I haven't had a feeling like this since I've been in the league. It's unreal. Now we have one more to get."
Meanwhile, there were never any concerns that Blount might be a locker-room problem upon returning to the Patriots.
"I remember walking in the locker room, 6:45, 7 o'clock, and he was sitting in his locker and my eyes lit up because I got my boy back," Vereen recalled. "We're so close. The whole team is so close, especially the running back group. He's a special player. He's comfortable around us and we feel he belongs here."
The Seahawks' defense is a formidable one, but the Packers had success running the ball early in Sunday's game. The Pats will try to replicate that success in the hopes that it opens things up for Tom Brady and the passing game.