The New England Patriots unheralded running back Dion Lewis was the target of what appeared to be a public put-down by Buffalo Bills Coach Rex Ryan when the always-bellicose Ryan claimed that he didn’t even know the 24-year-old’s name — even though Lewis rushed for 69 yards and received for 51 more to key the Patriots season-opening defeat of the Pittsburg Steelers on September 10.
But on Sunday, Ryan’s Bills faced the Patriots and Lewis again played an important role, this time with 138 total yards and his first touchdown of the season, as New England rolled past Buffalo 40-32 in a game that was not nearly as close as the final score seemed to indicate.
New England Quarterback Tom Brady passed for a staggering 466 yards, most against the Buffalo franchise in its 55-year-history, edging the previous record of 464 by George Blanda in 1961 — the second year of the Bills’ existence. Brady also threw for three touchdowns and Stephen Gostkowski kicked four field goals including a 50-yarder.
But despite the contribution of Dion Lewis, Ryan still refused to concede that he knew who the running back was.
“Oh, that’s the reason we lost,” Ryan quipped in response to a question about Lewis. “Go ahead, I still don’t know his name. Next time run the ball. Next.”
Ryan seemed to be implying that he did not know who Lewis was because the Patriots largely ignored their running game in the Sunday afternoon contest at Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium — formerly known as Orchard Park.
However, of the 138 total yards gained by Lewis, only 40 came on the ground, so Ryan presumably would have noticed his contribution in the passing game. But one of his seven carries wound up in the end zone.
So who is Dion Lewis? The Albany, New York, native was drafted in the fifth round out of Pittsburgh in 2011 by the Philadelphia Eagles, but missed both the 2013 and 2014 seasons with injury before being signed by the Patriots this season.
Lewis seems to have adapted quickly to the Patriot way, not only on the field, but in his dealings with the media as well. When asked about Ryan’s disrespectful comments, Lewis simply shrugged them off and said they played no role in his motivation for the solid performance he put in on Sunday.
“Winning gives me extra motivation,” Lewis said after Sunday’s game. “Going out there and helping my teammates win. That’s the biggest motivation for me. I don’t listen to other stuff.”
Dion Lewis did fumble for the second week in a row, which is often a quick way to get into New England Coach Bill Belichick’s doghouse. But in this case, Lewis was back on the field for the Patriots next offensive sequence.
[Image: Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images]