New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches his players during NFL football practice, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola
December 28, 2016

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) New England's three-headed monster at running back continues to be a real weapon in the Patriots' rush for a fifth Super Bowl title in this century.

''It's awesome to watch, it's awesome to have, it's awesome to get to play with,'' wide receiver Julian Edelman said Wednesday when asked about the contributions of LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis and James White.

''There's always been a thunder and lightning. We've got thunder and lightning and ... rain coming along with these three. They've all got their special talents and it's unbelievable to see how they all can impact a game.''

Of the trio, Blount has clearly had the biggest impact, rushing for 1,110 yards and a club-record 17 touchdowns; the 17 scores are tied for third most in franchise history. He has just seven catches, but that's where the other guys come in.

Lewis, who has played the past six games after recovering from knee surgery, has 53 carries for 235 yards, also catching 15 passes for 90 yards. White, in his third season, has 157 yards on 37 carries but, more importantly, has 56 catches for 530 yards and five touchdowns.

As a group, they have 22 of the team's 47 touchdowns. Their production has helped ease the pain of the absence of the injured star tight end Rob Gronkowski and wideout Danny Amendola.

''It's a special thing, man,'' said fullback James Develin, whose job in the offense consists mostly of blocking. ''I've obviously had a lot of success doing a lot of different things this year, but it's really cool to see all those guys back there and they all have their own role.

''They really take a lot of pride in it. It's really cool to see.''

Said Edelman, who benefits from the production of the backs because it gives him some extra room: ''Any time you have guys like that, it makes it easier for the offense because it sets up a whole bunch of things and it makes them a crucial factor for the other team to kind of think about.''

And having three of them back there should help all three be fresher for the regular-season finale at Miami on Sunday.

''That's the goal,'' Edelman said. ''We've got some unbelievable depth at that position.''

Tackle Nate Solder, one of the guys blocking for the monster, said, ''It's a real honor. I think those guys always find the hole when we give them the opportunity to get to the line of scrimmage. They all kind of bring a different aspect to the game, great teammates.

''It's a real honor and a privilege to play with them.''

Added Develin: ''The backs that we have are really special guys and they're doing a lot of things really, really well for us right now.''

NOTES: Tom Brady, battling thigh soreness, didn't practice on Wednesday. Malcolm Mitchell, Lewis and Amendola also didn't practice. But Dont'a Hightower, held out last week with a knee problem, was at practice. ... The Patriots would become the ninth team going back to 1972 with an undefeated road season (six of the previous eight went to the Super Bowl) with a win at Miami - where the Dolphins are 6-1 with five straight wins. ... Weird stat: Brady is older (39) than Miami coach Adam Gase (38).

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