If Sony Michel wants to keep his job as the Patriots' No. 1 running back, it isn't a stretch to say he needs a big game Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders (1 p.m. ET, CBS).
The combination of a disappointing performance in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks, coupled with on-the-rise Damien Harris (hand) eligible to be activated off injured reserve next week, has put Michel in a position where he needs a strong rebound.
His first carry of the game, in particular, was eye-opening for what could have been.
The offensive line opened a gaping hole along the left side, allowing Michel a clean entry to the second level of the defense with a cut-back run. The potential for big yardage was there if Michel could make cornerback Quinton Dunbar miss, with a huge swath of real estate in the middle of the field available to him.
The blocking couldn't have been drawn up, or executed, much better.
But Michel didn't capitalize, forgoing the middle in an attempt to beat Dunbar to the outside, which allowed the one other defender in the area -- defensive end Bruce Irvin -- to disengage his block and rip Michel down for a modest 3-yard gain.