The New England Patriots’ 24-3 loss against the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night was a costly one. Not only did the team fall to 6-7 on the season and see its playoff aspirations recede ever farther into the distance, it also suffered some injuries along the way: four total players were hurt, all of which playing prominent roles on their respective units.
With that said, let’s take a look at the Patriots’ injury situation after their win in Los Angeles.
CB Stephon Gilmore: After making a tackle on a 6-yard run by Cam Akers in the first quarter, Gilmore was spotted grabbing his right hand — one he appeared to have hurt in a collision with fellow defensive back Kyle Dugger while trying to bring Akers down. He did shake his hand a few additional times following the next few plays as well, but eventually did not miss any time. He eventually finished the game having played 59 of a possible 63 defensive snaps, with his four-snap absence likely tied to the score and not his hand.
S Adrian Phillips: Phillips also sustained a hand injury, when he attempted to tackle Cooper Kupp on a third down play in the late third quarter. As opposed to Gilmore’s ailment, the Patriots did make an official announcement about Phillips’, listing him as questionable to return to the game. Return, however, he did: the 28-year-old was on the field to start the third quarter and when all was said and done finished with 57 defensive snaps and 13 more on special teams.
WR Donte Moncrief: New England’s kicking game operation was also not immune to injury on Thursday, with kickoff returner Donte Moncrief suffering what was later announced to be a thigh injury. The first-year Patriot hurt his thigh during a punt return in the early fourth quarter, and had to visit the blue medical tent afterwards. Moncrief did remain on the sidelines after emerging again, though, which can be seen as an indication that his injury might not have been as bad as it could have been.
RB Damien Harris: On the very next play after Moncrief’s injury, the Patriots’ starting running back went down. Damien Harris stayed on the ground after attempting a low block on a blitz pickup, walked off the field under his own power, and later was announced as questionable to return because of a back ailment. Sony Michel took over his role as the early-down back, with Harris ending the game on the sidelines after having played 22 offensive snaps and carrying the football 11 times for 50 total yards.
What this means for the Patriots
Given the importance all four players listed above have to the Patriots in their different roles, the team will likely keep a close eye on their injury statuses over the weekend off and heading into the preparation for the upcoming Week 15 game against the Miami Dolphins. Of course, one player stands out in particular: Damien Harris.
While Stephon Gilmore and Adrian Phillips finished the game and missed virtually no snaps because of their respective ailments, and while Donte Moncrief appeared to be good to go again after his trip to the medical tent, Harris’ back injury appeared to be more serious — simply because he had to be tended to by the Patriots’ medical staff on the field and did not return to the game after his departure.
That said, running backs coach Ivan Fears offered a cautiously optimistic outlook during a media conference call on Friday.
“He was much better by the time we left, by the time the game was over, which was great,” Fears said when speaking about Harris. “We’re feeling pretty good. We’re feeling pretty confident right now, but who knows.”
The upcoming mini-bye certainly plays in the Patriots’ hands when it comes to Harris’ injury and those sustained by the other players named above (let alone those who already were listed on the practice report heading into the game). As always, however, the first practice of the week and subsequent injury report will tell more about New England’s health status and how Harris and company are recovering after Thursday night’s game.
The early signs appear to be positive, but as Ryan Izzo getting place on injured reserve recently shows: a lot can happen upon further examination even when an injury looks comparatively harmless at first glance.