The New England Patriots were forced to play their last two games without one of their most valuable defenders: Trey Flowers, the team’s best edge defender and pass rusher, was absent against the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins due to a rib injury he suffered during the Patriots’ first meeting with the Dolphins in week 12.
Little was reported about the severity of Flowers’ injury but according to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, he appears to be on his way back:
DE Trey Flowers made solid progress over course of the week as he attempts to come back from an injury to his ribs. Has missed last two games. Getting closer to return.
Reiss’ report is an encouraging one for a Patriots defense that failed to generate consistent pressure without Flowers, especially on Sunday in Miami. With the highly anticipated game against the Pittsburgh Steelers coming up this week – a game that could very well decide the race for the AFC’s top playoff seed – getting Flowers back would be a huge boost for New England.