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Dillon's become a class act

  1. #1
    Lifer bentbryan's Avatar
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    Dillon's become a class act


    Making the playoffs a rush for Dillon
    By Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff | December 13, 2004

    FOXBOROUGH -- Before yesterday's kickoff, Corey Dillon spotted Marvin Lewis across the field, approached the Cincinnati coach, and gave him an embrace. As they brought their heads together, the Patriots running back told Lewis that his grudge against the Bengals finally would be gone. And the Cincinnati coach reciprocated, agreeing that after the game the hatchet would be buried forever. No more snipes. No more snickers. They were finally going their separate ways -- with respect.

    "It's time to let it go," Dillon said. "He's doing well with his organization. It's over. To go back and forth is crazy. I'm not going to take part in that anymore. It's evil of me to keep degrading them."

    After the Patriots' 35-28 win at Gillette Stadium, however, Dillon showed that the victory might have meant a little more to him than the team's 11 previous wins this season.

    "There was a little smile there at the end," offensive lineman Matt Light said of his teammate. "I'm sure he's pretty happy to get this win."

    "I'm sure he wanted to win bad," quarterback Tom Brady said.

    Yet it was more than about besting the team that had signed his paychecks for seven seasons. For Dillon, who set 18 Bengals records and rushed for 8,061 yards with Cincinnati, the greater pleasure was in qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in his career.

    "First time in eight years? I'll take that," Dillon said. "But I didn't get there myself. It's the offense, special teams, defense -- we play as a team. There's a first time for everything and I wish it was sooner, but it came later in my career."

    Advancing to the postseason has become a common occurrence for the Patriot veterans, who shrug off the achievement without raising their eyebrows. Light, in fact, wasn't even sure the Patriots had qualified for the playoffs until team officials verified the fact. But the lineman, who helped open holes for Dillon during the game, acknowledged his happiness for his running back.

    "This is something that hasn't happened in his career before," Light said. "He's one of the best running backs in the league and I'm happy for him."

    Dillon, who had rushed for more than 100 yards in six of New England's last seven games, tallied 88 yards yesterday on 22 rushes. But he wasn't asked to carry the offense as he was in previous games, with Brady completing 18 passes for 260 yards and spreading the ball around to seven receivers. Dillon's presence might have been just as important during practice and meetings last week, as he constantly reminded his teammates to respect Cincinnati's defense. He may never have played in a playoff game with the Bengals, but Dillon knew that Lewis has constructed a club that is more dangerous than the Cincinnati teams he played for.

    "They've come a long way," Dillon said. "They're playing hard. They're going to be OK. I know how they're feeling now, but they're going to be a force in this league sooner rather than later. They played a hard, hard game, and I tip my hat to them."

    Dillon certainly sent a message on his first carry of the game. On the Patriots' second offensive play, his linemen muscled their counterparts off the line, creating a lane for the broad-shouldered bruiser. With fullback Patrick Pass clearing additional space, Dillon rumbled for 16 yards, his longest run of the game. To cap the drive 11 plays later, Dillon followed lead blocker Richard Seymour from a yard out and plunged into the end zone to give the Patriots a 6-0 lead. It was his 10th touchdown of the season, tying a career high that he set in 1997 and 2001.

    In the fourth quarter, Dillon helped the Patriots run the clock down with four straight rushes, gaining 22 yards. On his second run of the drive, Dillon plowed through the line for 9 yards, thumping tacklers. On the next rush, he flaunted his niftiness, cutting back to gain 3 yards.

    "I'm having fun," Dillon said. "I'm finally seeing all the hard work from over the years paying off."


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  2. #2
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Dillon's become a class act

    Dillon's overall character has really suprised me this year. He was portrayed as a total 'ME' kinda guy in Cinci, and I was curious as to how that was gonna pan out in New England with their strong 'TEAM' approach...

    Yet he's impressed me every step of the way. Leave it to Coach Bill...

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  3. #3
    Super Moderator OreoGaborio's Avatar
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    Dillon's become a class act


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