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Patriots’ running game shut down in Denver

DENVER — The Patriots’ running game was effectively shut down by the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship, and running back LeGarrette Blount a non-factor in a 26-16 loss.

The Patriots had 64 yards rushing, with Blount getting only five carries for 6 yards. Blount didn’t get a single carry in the second half.

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“I had big expectations,” Blount said. “They stopped us, that’s what made the difference.”

Blount said the Broncos didn’t do anything surprising or different from what the Patriots had scouted on film. After gaining 355 yards in the last two games, it was a huge disappointment to get knocked out of the playoffs with a Super Bowl berth on the line.

“There were plays that were out there that we didn’t make,” he said. “This is my first time getting this far into a season and losing, so yeah it hurts. There were plays out there that we could make that we didn’t make.”

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Shane Vereen led the Patriots with 34 yards on four carries, mostly as the Patriots were fighting back from a 20-point deficit. Stevan Ridley had much better success, running for 17 yards on five carries, a 3.4 yards per carry average.

“I’m extremely proud of this team,” Blount said. “We overcame a lot with our injuries to our big guys and our big-time players. Every last guy I know wanted to go and play in two weeks.”

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