HOUSTON – Yes, the New England Patriots racked up a rare pair of losses over the course of their dominant road to Super Bowl LI, but running back Dion Lewis has the equivalent of a perfect season under his belt.
Say 16-0 to Patriots fans and it comes with mixed emotions, evoking memories of the flawless regular season in 2007 before ultimate glory slipped away thanks to the New York Giants and David Tyree’s Catch (something so painful deserves a capital letter) and all that.
Lewis, however, can stick 16-0 next to his name and puff his chest out with pride. The 26-year-old, quite simply, does not know what it feels like to lose in a Patriots uniform in games he has appeared in. Starting in Week One of 2015, and interspersed with games missed through injury, Lewis would appear to be the undefeated, undisputed good luck charm for Bill Belichick’s men, with a record more appropriate for a fast-emerging boxer than a football player.
“That’s just a coincidence,” Lewis said. “I don’t look at that and think it is something special about me. The fact is, this team has won a lot of games. We haven’t lost a lot. It is great to be part of but I don’t think I’m the reason.”
Lewis came into the league in 2011 but has missed a chunk of games through various ailments. A broken leg kept him out for nearly two years, while an ACL tear ended his 2015 season and kept him sidelined for the start of this one.
He signed with the Patriots on the final day of 2014 – without him during that period the team is a commendable yet unspectacular 12-7, including playoff games.
“I have been committed to putting in the work for a long time and I believe in myself,” Lewis added. “I want to contribute to what we are doing here. I know that if I prepare right, work right then I can help us to be successful.”
Lewis has been through too much to believe that success comes down to chance. Yet some of his teammates have been made aware of the 16-0 stat.
“That’s a pretty cool one,” veteran receiver Matthew Slater said. “Definitely better than a number where you hadn’t won any games. Let it continue. I hope it never ends.”
Talking of stats, Lewis racked up 335 yards since returning in Week 11 and will likely see plenty of work on Sunday. But football is measured in wins and losses -- and if he can keep his record spotless, it will be a happy night for New England.