For noted former Patriot Malcolm Butler, beating that team with his Titans on Sunday was particularly “satisfying.” Dion Lewis, another Tennessee player who came over from New England, clearly felt the same way to judge from his postgame comments.
"You get your a-- kicked.”
Lewis, who spent the past three seasons with New England and led the team last year in rushing yards and combined rushing and receiving touchdowns, had reason to feel jilted by the Patriots and not just for financial reasons. After letting Lewis walk in the offseason to the Titans, who signed him to a four-year, $19.8 million contract, New England used a first-round pick on a replacement running back, Sony Michel.
Thus Lewis was clearly excited to face his former squad and could be seen jawing with ex-teammates at several points during the game. Although he didn’t have one of his better individual performances of the season, accounting for 68 scoreless yards on 22 touches, Lewis reveled in the payback he got at the Patriots' expense and wasn’t shy about letting the media know afterward.
“It’s a real sweet win,” the sixth-year back said. “Especially when you used to be there and they didn’t want to bring you back. Definitely real sweet.”
Lewis claimed that he “didn’t have to prove anything,” saying (via ESPN), “I know I can play. I just had to let our team know that these guys are beatable.
“I know those guys,” he added. “I know that you be physical with them and let 'em have it and they’ll fold.”
In addition to what he said after the game, Lewis had more to convey on social media in emoji and GIF form.
😂😂😂— Dion Lewis (@DionLewisRB) November 11, 2018
Butler, who was infamously benched by Patriots Coach Bill Belichick in New England’s loss to Philadelphia in February’s Super Bowl, was less inclined to kick his former team while it was down. “We want to beat everybody, but this one right here was a little more satisfying,” he said.
The veteran cornerback acknowledged that he thought this week about his surprising lack of action in the Super Bowl, for which Belichick was widely second-guessed, but Butler indicated before the game that no longer holds it against the coach or New England. He had a brief interaction with Belichick after Tennessee’s win and told reporters of that exchange.
“He said he appreciated me playing for him for four years, and I said the same thing back,” Butler said. “He told me good luck on the rest of the season and told me to keep fighting like he knows I will.”
“We didn’t really do much of anything well today,” Belichick said after the game. “Everything was a problem.”
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