FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Running back Mike Gillislee was a healthy scratch for six straight games. After signing with the New England Patriots during the offseason, a stretch like that could create controversy and unhappiness that lingers in the locker room.

Instead, he impressed teammates with the way he acted while not on the field. His patience paid off Sunday when he was active for the first time since Week 8.

With James White (ankle) and Rex Burkhead (knee) out because of injuries, Gillislee, a fifth-year veteran, was back on the active roster and came through for the Patriots in a 37-16 win over Buffalo.

“Oh man, I’m so happy for him. He’s my locker mate. I love Mike,” fellow running back Dion Lewis said. “He’s a great person. He handles things the right way, a lot better than a lot of people would. I love that guy. He’s a great person and I’m happy for him.”

Gillislee received limited opportunities Sunday but made the most of his six carries, rushing for 28 yards and a touchdown. With 55 seconds left in the third quarter, he plowed in for a much-needed 1-yard touchdown run against his former Buffalo Bills teammates. After scoring, he dropped to his knees, spreading his arms out while looking at the sky.

The touchdown broke a 16-16 tie and was a happy moment for Gillislee, who scored his first touchdown since Week 2, and his teammates were overjoyed.

At one point early in the season, Gillislee was the Patriots’ leader in rushing yards, but then came the six healthy scratches while both Lewis and Burkhead bypassed him on the depth chart.

Gillislee patiently waited, and he came through Sunday.

“I was so happy when he got that touchdown because, I mean, it’s tough to not be out there. It’s hard,” Lewis said. “But he’s been a true professional, handled things the right way and he was blessed today to be able to get in the end zone.”