Injuries ruined the Patriots attack on an undefeated season, as key starter after key starter wound up on the sideline over the second half of the season.
The playbook was chopped when Julian Edelman went down with a foot injury, and the dynamism of the offense shrunk when Dion Lewis tore his ACL. Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski suffered knee injuries, and every starting offensive lineman has been battling an injury of their own.
But head coach Bill Belichick won't let injuries affect the team's mentality.
"Honestly I don't really care about that," Belichick replied when asked about the number of injuries suffered by his team. "We try to look ahead, see what we have in the future and do the best we can with that rather than sit back and try to make comparisons between other years, other teams, other games, some other situation - none of which really matter. It isn't really important how one year relates to another year or some other game or some other season from way back when. What difference does it make?"
Fortunately for the Patriots, every temporarily injured player should return for the divisional round and should be ready to play.
For those looking for an update on wide receiver Julian Edelman, note that Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant suffered a similar injury this season and returned to the field after 49 days. If Edelman takes the field in the divisional round, it will be 62 days after the injury, or roughly two extra weeks of recovery time.
Dez collected 104 yards and a touchdown in his second game back. Hopefully the extra resting time will let Edelman perform at his pre-injury level.