Well, the weather wasn't pretty and neither was the New England Patriots' week 17 victory over Buffalo. Pats running back LeGarrette Blount, who was acquired in a preseason trade from Tampa Bay, proved his worth Sunday, rushing for 189 yards and 145 yards on special teams.

Blount's 334 all-purpose yards performance ranks 12th all-time in NFL history.

Not too shabby for the 28-year old journeyman out of the University of Oregon. Ducks love the water, and Blount looked pretty waterproof out there on the turf at Gillette Stadium.

The six-foot, 250-pound steamroller of a back made the Buffalo defense look like a big, stinky block of Swiss cheese.

It was exactly the way Patriots fans wanted to close out 2013 -- a year in which many, myself included, did not know what direction the team would go in after star tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested on murder charges.

Wes Welker bailed for Denver, and who could blame him.

The Patriots did him wrong and Welker got tired of the team's low-ball offers, but with his departure, a new star was born in Julian Edelman.

Some fans might say that Edelman was always there -- Welker just hogged the spotlight like a cat does the morning sun.

While that is true, Edelman, who also is a slot receiver and has identical attributes to Welker, has gone well above what many have expected.


Edelman, according to the New England Patriots website, has 96 receptions for 991-yards -- that's 756 more yards receiving than he hauled in last year.

Big things come in small packages, and Edelman has definitely been a catalyst in keeping the Patriots afloat. Then there is wide receiver Danny Amendola, who was thought to be Welker's replacement. The injury-prone vet was nipped by a nagging groin injury, but he has recovered nicely. Amendola has 53 catches for 624 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games. And how about Kenbrell Thompkins, the 24-year-old rookie out of Cincinnatti -- it took a while, but he and Tom Brady have developed some chemistry. Unlike the Patriots of yesteryears, there are no Wes Welkers, there is no Hernandez or Rob Gronkowski (out due to yet another injury) -- but there are multiple role players. Then there is Shane Vereen, who is that receiver/running back who is always a threat to make the big gain.

The 2013 Patriots are very similar to the "rag-tag" bunch who brought home the franchise's first-ever Super Bowl in 2002 over St. Louis.

The defense, which has had a revolving door in the secondary, still manage to get the job done. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia has to be happy with the way his defensive unit is performing, despite all the adversity it has faced.

Rob Ninkovich has been a staple on a defensive line that took a huge hit when big man Vince Wilfork went down mid season with an MCL tear in his left knee. Ninkovich has been blanketed by rookies Joe Vellano and Chris Jones. On the other end is second-year Syracuse alum Chandler Jones. It has been a breath of fresh air to see the defense continue to take licks, but the next man up has been able to respond to the challenge swiftly.

After all was said and done Sunday, old Scrooge himself, Bill Belichick, flashed a smile as he pulled down the soggy hood of his sweatshirt as he trotted off the field. There are only two times when Belichick smiles: when the Patriots clinch a first round bye and when they win the Super Bowl. As I said in a previous column -- see you in January, Peyton Manning. Happy New Year, everyone.