The New England Patriots had their worst day of the 2016 season yesterday. The team was shut down offensively by the Buffalo Bills, struggled with mistakes and as a result lost the game 16-0. New England also lost something else: backup running back and core special teamer Brandon Bolden.
Yesterday, Bolden saw his most offensive playing time of the season as he finished the game with two catches (on three targets) for 15 yards. Not exactly eye-popping statistics but reflective of how the team used him as their number three running back behind LeGarrette Blount and James White; primarily backing up white as the 3rd receiving back.
Unfortunately, after the second of Bolden’s two catches, he twisted his knee while being tackled. The injury forced him to gingerly walk off the field and leave the game. However, according to Mike Reiss, Bolden’s injury is not as bad as it looked in live action:
Initial diagnosis on Patriots RB Brandon Bolden is that he avoided a season-ending type of injury today. Could still miss some time, though.
Depending on the actual severity of the injury and how the NFL twisted its injured reserve return rules, Bolden could be a candidate to be placed on injured reserve and brought back at a later point (without having to be declared the returned player just yet). This, in turn, would open up one of the two roster spots needed as Tom Brady and Rob Ninkovich return from their respective suspensions.
During the 26-year old’s absence, D.J. Foster might be asked to step up as the number three running back on the team. The rookie has seen uneven playing time over the course of his first professional season and was active only once (week 2), but has a skill-set that allows him to be used in the versatile way the Patriots use their receiving backs.