It hasn’t exactly been a busy day for the former Alabama star, but all he needed to do was craft one head-turning moment to shift the narrative after the Week 1 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Forget about that fumble at the 11-yard line that prevented the Pats from retaking the lead. How about a Marshawn Lynch-esque bruising run to demoralize the Jets’ defense en route to a touchdown to make it a 19-3 game?
Yup, the Patriots are rolling and Harris is now up to eight carries for 50 yards and a touchdown.
Patriots RB Damien Harris just destroyed the Jets’ defense.
Avoids the tackle at the line of scrimmage. Breaks one at the second level. Breaks another at the third level. And for good measure? Carries three defenders into the end zone at the fourth level. That 26-yard touchdown all but officially put this one out of reach, because Zach Wilson and his four picks probably (definitely) aren’t going to concoct a 17-point comeback.
That aggressiveness made Harris the No. 1 back in 2020 and Patriots fans have been wanting to see what he could do with a full slate of games after being limited with injuries.
All that matters, though, is that his teammates are loving what they’re seeing. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who was inactive on Sunday due to a throat issue, was watching the game and showed some support for his starting running back shortly after his beastmode scamper.
Though James White has taken centerstage in this one with his 20 yards on the ground and 46 yards through the air midway through the third quarter, that “reduced role” for Harris really was a whole lot of nothing. He leads the team in carries, and it’s apparent Josh McDaniels wanted to have Mac Jones air it out a bit more against a shaky Jets defense.
The gameplan hasn’t been flawless, but it’s worked. And Harris helped extend this lead so any second-half worries could dissipate.