FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Patriots continued to play with heavy hearts on Sunday in the aftermath of James White losing his father in a car accident last week that also continues to have his mother hospitalized. Prior to kickoff of New England’s eventual 36-20 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, there was a moment of silence held for Tyrone White as the club sent its best wishes to their three-time Super Bowl-winning back and his family. Once the game began, White backfield brethren honored him with their play on the field.
The ground game dominated for New England, rushing for 250 yards on a 6.6 yards per carry clip en-route to the win. Not only were the Patriots able to impose their will on the ground against Las Vegas, Rex Burkhead shined as he continues to step into White’s role as the team’s primary pass-catching back. Burkhead finished his career-day with a team-high seven receptions to go along with 98 yards from scrimmage and three total touchdowns.
“We think about him every single day,” an emotional Rex Burkeahd said of White postgame. “The situation that him and his family is going through is sad and we go out there and we try to play for him — just give it our all and try and focus on what we can. Of course, a bunch of guys are reaching out to him just hoping he’s doing okay given his situation. It was rough and it’s tough. He’s a brother to me, another running back on this team, of course, so I really feel his pain in this whole situation and it is tough.”
“We were [playing for White],” added Julian Edelman. “One of our brothers is hurt ,and it puts a lot of things in perspective. With James White being the man he is — an outstanding guy on the field, in the locker room, off the field — to go through what he’s gone through over the last week, our thoughts and prayers have been with him. It did give us motivation to go out there and play for him because you know for a fact with the kind of guy James White is that if something like that happened to one of us he would do the same thing.”
White, who has spent his entire seven-year NFL career with the Patriots, was ruled inactive for last week’s game in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy and also was out this week as he continues to be with his family. In his absence, the Patriots were able to make due, moving to 2-1 on the season while mounting 406 yards of total offense, but they are also looking forward to the day that he returns.
“James, he’s a captain for a reason,” said Cam Newton. “The thing about it most is we have a guy like that, we empathize with what he’s going through. You don’t necessarily feel it per se, but you feel it emotionally. We just want to reward him and put him in good spirits, and I know, if he’s watching this or if he did watch the game, we’re excited like heck to hopefully get him back here soon. We’ve been praying for him, and we need Sweet Feet back.”