FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — It was clear that LeGarrette Blount came into this season focused and in shape. At training camp, the running back looked faster and a bit slimmer as he rumbled down the field with purpose.

But as good as Blount looked in August, few predicted what would come in opening weeks of the season.

As the Patriots prepare for their Week Four matchup with the Buffalo Bills, the 29-year-old Blount is the most productive running back in the NFL. He earned some recognition for his efforts on Thursday when he was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month.

"I prepared the same as I always have, man," Blount said of his offseason workouts. "It’s just, I made sure I was prepared for the opportunity and I know I had a great supporting cast with everybody here. The opportunity has presented itself, and you just have to take advantage of them."

With Tom Brady serving a four-game suspension and injuries to both backup quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (thumb), Blount has not only taken advantage of the opportunity, he's sprinted full speed ahead.

In three games, Blount leads the NFL in rushing yards (298), yards per game (99.3), attempts (75) and is tied for first in rushing touchdowns (four).

He ran for 105 yards last week against Houston. The week before, against Miami, he gained 123. It's the first time Blount gained back-to-back 100-yard games since 2011, when he plays for the Buccaneers. He has also scored a rushing touchdown in every game to start this season.

At this point, he’s on pace to run for 1,589 yards and 21 touchdowns.

"It’s an honor, man, but it was a group effort," Blount said of player of the month honors. "It wasn’t all me. I know I’ll get a lot of the recognition right now, but it was a group effort. It trickles down from the offensive line to the tight ends to the fullback to the wide receivers. They all play a part in how I’ve been able to play.

"It’s believing in practice and getting to work together every day. We’ve had each other from the OTAs and camp, and we’ve just been able to stick around. We’ve jelled together like a family, man, and that’s what it is."

Last season, Blount was on pace to have one of the best years of his career before a hip injury landed him on the injured reserve. In 12 games, he finished with 703 yards and four touchdowns. That rushing total was the fourth-best in his career.

To put what he’s done this season into perspective, Blount has started the season better than almost any running back in Patriots team history.

Blount’s four rushing touchdowns through three games are tied for the most in Patriots history with Corey Dillon (2005) and Marion Butts (1994). Through three games, Blount’s 298 rushing yards are the fourth most in Patriots history behind Curtis Martin (395), Dillon (323) and Tony Collins (312). Through three games, Blount’s 75 rush attempts are the second most in Patriots history behind Martin (87 in 1997).

He is the second Patriots running back to earn AFC Offensive Player of the Month honors along with Dillon (2004). Blount also credits his success to Bill Belichick. Although he’s had some struggles in previous stops in Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, Blount feels at home in Foxboro.

"I really have a good relationship with Bill. I love Bill to death," Blount said. "He’s always had my back, from the beginning, from the first time I met him. I feel like I’ll probably have that forever. We just have a really good relationship. I like everything that he does and I respect him a lot. Like I said, he’s for sure going to be one of the best coaches. I think he’s going to go down in history as the best coach ever."