One week after losing not just their game against the Houston Texans but also two core members of the offense to injury — left tackle Isaiah Wynn and running back Rex Burkhead — the New England Patriots were able to turn their fortunes around in Week 12. Not only did the team beat the visiting Arizona Cardinals on a last-second field goal, it also appears to have suffered only minor ailments along the way.
Before getting too far ahead of ourselves, however, let’s take a look at the Patriots’ injury situation after their 20-17 victory over the Cardinals.
OT Jermaine Eluemunor: The Patriots started the game with Jermaine Eluemunor at left tackle in place of the injured Isaiah Wynn, but on the third series made a switch in favor of rookie Justin Herron. Whether or not a medical issue was the reason for that — Eluemunor had previously spent three weeks on injured reserve because of an ankle injury — was not announced, and the veteran eventually returned to reclaim his starting position and finish the game with 39 out of a possible 53 offensive snaps. Based on the circumstances, it seems as if New England was simply using a rotation like it did earlier during the year when Eluemunor was still the starter at right tackle.
CB J.C. Jackson: Midway through the fourth quarter, the Patriots lost two of their defensive starters to injury on back-to-back plays. First up was J.C. Jackson, who appeared to have hurt his back after a collision on an incomplete pass that was eventually called back due to a penalty against the Patriots. Jackson’s injury, however, remained. The third-year man therefore went off the field and albeit doing so under his own power was unable to return to the contest: he had to sit out the final 11 defensive plays of the game. That said, it appears as if the injury was not a major one given that Jackson remained standing on the sideline with his helmet on after getting looked at by trainers.
S Adrian Phillips: One play after the Jackson injury, a medical timeout had to be called because of safety Adrian Phillips. The first-year Patriot appeared to have been involved in a collision as well on a Cardinals run, and stayed on the ground after the play — pointing at his right knee once trainers had arrived to check on him. Phillips eventually walked off the field under his own power and while he sat out the rest of that series was back on the field a short time later: he played all six snaps on the final defensive drive of the day, looking his usual self. It appears he and New England dodged a bullet.
What this means for the Patriots
While Jackson and Phillips are key members of New England’s defensive backfield and therefore naturally under the spotlight, their respective injuries suffered on Sunday do not look like they are of the potentially impactful variety. Accordingly, it would not be a surprise to see the two listed on the injury report heading into this week’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers, but eventually still make the trip and play their usual prominent roles on Sunday.
The same also can be said about Jermaine Eluemunor. While New England rotated him in and out of the lineup versus the Cardinals, it does not look like any major ailment was the reason for that. The versatile lineman should therefore be expected to return as the Patriots’ starting left tackle this week and until Isaiah Wynn is cleared to return to the lineup again — possibly in Week 15 against the Miami Dolphins.
The Patriots’ first injury report of the week will be released on Wednesday and give further clarity about the team’s injury situation ahead of its road trip to California. At first glance, however, it looks as if New England emerged relatively unscathed from its win over the Cardinals.