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If Patriots are going to show up for something noteworthy, it clearly starts with Stevenson and the dominant character he has become.

Rhamondre Stevenson Jets defender CJ Mosley with stiff shoulders during Sunday’s third quarter. AP Photo / John Minchillo

With all due respect to James White, there are likely to be more accurate compositions for Patriots fleeing Rhamondre Stevenson.

Marshawn Lynch is good. Pre-project analysis in 2021 She compared Oklahoma’s perspective with Baltimore, Gus Edwards, which is fine. His New England debut stats last year favored much like Arian Foster and David Montgomery, a pair of guys who were very good defenders, albeit for a very short time.

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But the second year of the Patriots comeback is already working out its own niche, tossing average comparisons to guys like Zack Moss and Carlos Hyde and making their own. Stevenson already has twice as many parties as he did last season, and his ability to play the role of receiving runners made him a valuable commodity in third place.

This is why teammate Kendrick Bourne compared him to White, a former Super Bowl hero who played the role so clearly throughout his career. “He’s just a great player,” said Bourne on Sunday afternoon after watching Stevenson speed 71 yards and catching another 72 to fuel most of the Patriots’ offensive during an ugly 22-17 victory over the New York Jets. “He can catch really well. I keep telling him you have really good gloves, man. This is what we need. To be able to be versatile, having a pass catcher out of the box is so great. Reminds me of James White. So, just to keep this kind of threat third down with all our other threats and threats, it’s kind of hard to stop us. Proud of this guy.

It’s scary to think where the Patriots could be without Stevenson, who was pushed into a more frequent role on the team only after runner Damien Harris suffered a hamstring injury earlier this month. Despite winning on Sunday, the 4-4 Patriots remain in last place at AFC East, plagued by questionable offensive play, a defense that breaks more than bends, and a quarterback who recoils from injury.

Stevenson amassed 143 of the 288 New England yards against the Jets, many of them bruised all of which had a chance to respawn with every arm Stevenson put on the Jets defensive. Perhaps no run was more impressive than Stevenson’s 35-yard gallop in the first seconds of the second half when he seemed to be pushed to the faceoff line, only to turn this game into the biggest streak of the day. The race also helped his team to get the only touchdown that day.

It was the fifth game in a row that Stevenson had led the Patriots within yards of the skirmish. In terms of statistics, he has been just as good this season as Minnesota superstar Dalvin Cook. He has the same number of holds (32) as Deebo Samuel and Dallas Goedert, only three less than his teammate Jakobi Meyers, the other half of the two-headed monster currently holding the Patriots offensive.

Heck, his performance against the Detroit Lions three weeks ago, when he pounced on his career record 161 yards, prompted Patriots coach Bill Belichick to confess his love for the player.

“He’s a good defender,” said Belichick. “Love him. Love him.”

Love him. Have you ever heard Belichick profess this kind of love for someone who wasn’t a New York Giants defender in the 1980s?

Stevenson’s talent allows the Patriots to show it more often than ever with whites, except in third-order situations. There is some credibility compared to LeGarrette Blount’s ability to drive his six-foot 229-pound frame through the brawl line, but Blount never caught more than 15 passes in any season during his career. Indeed, the att*ck on the Patriots duel was tipped in Stevenson’s favor.

Harris was fine on Sunday running 37 yards out of 11 wear, but it doesn’t take a genius to understand which competitor is the more dangerous and valuable weapon. The ability to catch Stevenson’s pass was the Patriots’ main focus off-season, making him one of the most effective backfield tools in the NFL.

“I love both of these guys,” said quarterback Mac Jones, who had one day back in the game (24/35, 194 yards, one touchdown, one intercept). “They’re like my brother so we just want to keep growing together and they’ve done a great job.”

So much so that the Patriots must rely on the two of them to appear successful. Jones still looks lost on the pitch, uncomfortable in his pocket, and seems to have difficulty reading his receivers. He continued to lead the ball seven times on Sunday, tapping the career record he set at Pittsburgh in a week two win. Losing DeVante Parker in the first quarter due to a knee injury didn’t help, but we saw enough of Jones to understand the quarterback’s current limitations.

We’ve also seen enough Stevenson to wonder why he didn’t have an increased workload at all.

It was New England’s 13th consecutive win over the Jets, an episode of dominance that many believed would stop over the weekend. However, despite flashes of promise this season, they’re still, comfortably, the same old Jets.

We still have no idea who these .500 Patriots will be. But if they’re going to show up in something noteworthy, it clearly starts with Stevenson and the dominant presence he has become.

We all love James White, but please.

Stevenson seems ready to become much more.

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