FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Reuters) - Out of favor in Pittsburgh, LeGarrette Blount has clearly found a home in New England and became the Patriots' all-time leader in postseason rushing touchdowns with his bruising performance in Sunday's AFC Championship win over Indianapolis.
A disgruntled Blount had left the field early this season in a November victory with the Steelers, upset with his lack of playing time behind Le'Veon Bell.
The Steelers promptly released Blount, who bounced right back when the Patriots, his previous team, signed him up.
Blount burned to show what he could do and the Patriots installed him as their featured back.
"It's just a real close knit family here," Blount said after battering the Colts for 148 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries in a 45-7 rout.
"You can't beat that. That's what you need to win games."
Getting into the end zone from one, two and 13 yards gave Blount seven career postseason touchdowns for the Pats, including four against the Colts in last year's divisional playoffs.
"My O-line played amazing. Tom (Brady) played amazing," said Blount, spreading the credit for Sunday's romp among his offensive line and the team's quarterback.
"This is my first time ever winning anything in this league," he said after the team claimed the AFC Championship and a place in the Super Bowl against NFC champions Seattle.
"It means a lot, especially having the role that I had in it."
Blount bludgeoned the opposition with punishing runs up the middle and cut-backs into the open field.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick praised his performance.
"He made some great cuts in not good conditions," the coach said about the rain that swept in during the game.
"He found yards when there wasn't a lot there, and he’s a tough guy to tackle. He’s really a quality back. He made some great runs tonight.
"I thought he showed a lot of determination on the goal line to get the ball in the end zone. That was really an outstanding performance."
Last week, the Patriots gained only 14 yards rushing as they took to the air to beat the Baltimore Ravens, but Blount is unfazed.
"Whatever works, whatever the game plan is, that's what we're going to do," said Blount.
"I'm loving it from the time I got back 'til now. I was welcomed with open arms."
Editing by Peter Rutherford