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Jaylen Samuels' past won't make you feel any better about Patriots' run defense on Sunday

Ryan Hannable
December 17, 2018 - 2:43 pm

When Steelers running back James Conner was officially downgraded to doubtful on Saturday, that seemed like good news for the Patriots defense.

But, apparently it didn't matter.

The Patriots allowed 158 yards rushing to a team missing its first and second string running backs, as rookie Jaylen Samuels ran 19 times for 142 yards and caught two passes for 30 yards in the 17-10 win. It was the first 100-yard rusher the Patriots have allowed in 10 weeks.

It was obviously a career game for Samuels, but not just in the NFL -- in his entire life.

“No, I never rushed for 100 yards on the ground," he said to NBC Sports' Peter King.

What about 19 carries?

“No, I never had that … I never had 19 carries in a game," he said.

Come on, in high school you must've...

“No, not in high school," he said.

New England went with a dime defense the majority of the game and the Steelers made them pay by averaging 6.32 yards per carry.

This is a disturbing trend for the Patriots defense. It has allowed 7.64 yards per carry over the last three games, which is the worst three-game mark in franchise history and the fourth-worst by any NFL team since the merger. Not good.

The Patriots won't be going anywhere in the postseason if they don't fix this and fix it in a hurry. A quick fix seems to make defensive tackle Danny Shelton active, who has been a healthy scratch the last three weeks.

But, it's more than one player. It's an entire unit.

Related: James White on D&K addresses offensive performance vs. Steelers, decreased playing time of late