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Bill Belichick, Patriots show faith in Dion Lewis after fumble

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick often says that when a player holds the football in his grasp, he carries with it the fate of the entire football team.

That's why, at times, Belichick has had a no-tolerance policy for fumbling.

So when running back Dion Lewis lost the football with 10:37 remaining in the second quarter, and the Bills recovered, the thought probably crossed the mind of many Patriots fans: Will we see Lewis, who had also fumbled in the season opener, the rest of the game?

Turns out we did.

At that point, Lewis had played 18 of the team's first 19 snaps. He ended up playing 73 of the team's 86 offensive snaps.

"He's gained the confidence of everybody through his work ethic in practice, training camp and what he's done in all these games," quarterback Tom Brady said during his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI on Monday. "The way the game played out, being in the empty formation a lot, spreading them out, he made a lot of plays in the passing game, too.

"He's been a really dependable player for us. I know he's fumbled, but you know, running backs fumble. You have to be able to bounce back from it and he did. He came up with some huge plays there later in the game. He's kind of an all-purpose player for us -- running the ball, catching the ball, spreading them out, being in the backfield and making guys miss. I thought he played a great game."

Lewis was hard on himself after Sunday's victory.

He had previously said that his fumble in the opener against the Steelers could have been avoided if he wasn't running as upright as he was on the play. As for the fumble against the Bills, while noting he'd like the chance to review it on film, his initial thought was that it was a result of not getting his off hand on the football for added security.