Over the years the Patriots have never really been known for running the ball, but in the early 2000s when Tom Brady was more of a game manager, it was an important facet of the offense.
No one player made more of an impact than Corey Dillon in 2004.
In 15 games he ran for 1,635 yards and 12 touchdowns on 345 carries, which helped lead the Patriots to a Super Bowl title. The 1,635 yards are the most in a single season in franchise history — and by a good margin. Curtis Martin’s 1,487 yards in 1995 are second.
Dillon only spent the final three years of his career with the Patriots, but they were solid ones.
The record-setting 2004 season at age 30 was his best, but he still contributed the next two years. In 2005 he rushed for 733 yards in only 12 games and then in 2006 he rushed for 812 yards. He ran for double-digit touchdowns in all three years — 12, 12 and 13 respectively.
Dillon wasn’t exactly the easiest player to coach, but Bill Belichick got the most out of him and he ended up by winning a Super Bowl with the Patriots after not doing much winning in his time with the Bengals.
Honorable mention: Antowain Smith