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Lewis balances career night with disappointing fumble

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It's unclear whether or not a red zone fumble will cost Patriots running back Dion Lewis a chance at besting his stat line from Thursday night's opener -- by far the best of his career -- but it seems to be weighing heaviest on his mind.

"It could've cost the team the game," Lewis said, via CSN New England. "We won by seven, and if we didn't get the ball back that could've been a big turn in the game. But we won. My teammates hustled for me on that play. Just gotta try to get better."

His disappointment places a somber mark on what looks to be an incredible comeback story. Lewis, 24, hasn't appeared in an NFL game since 2012. His last stop was in Cleveland after being dealt for linebacker Emmanuel Acho (he was cut a few months later after breaking his leg).

Though we shouldn't be surprised that Bill Belichick found a player off the scrap heap only to turn him into his Day One starting running back and stun the rest of the league, his work with Lewis stands out among the most surprising.

Lewis was nearly perfect on Thursday. He caught four balls on crisp routes, some of which were from the receiver tree. He gained more than 4.5 yards per carry.

Out of nowhere, he looked like a back that should have been in Belichick's offense for years.

Of course, we've said this about Jonas Gray before, and a heap of other one-game stars in New England.

But here's to hoping Lewis gets another chance at the comeback he's been waiting for.

"I knew I was gonna get an opportunity to compete," Lewis said. "It's a winning team. I consider myself a winner. The way I feel about myself, this was the place I wanted to be, to come in here and compete. I think highly of myself so I said, 'You gotta make it here or you can't make it at all.' "

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