The New England Patriots came pretty close to playing a perfect game against the Los Angeles Chargers: they controlled the contest on offense and scored four touchdowns; they added two more scores in the kicking game; they registered two takeaways on defense and also pitched a shutout. The Patriots can therefore feel pretty about their performance versus the Chargers, but there are still some questions coming out of the 45-0 victory.
With that said, let’s take a look at the Patriots’ injury situation after their win in Los Angeles.
CB Jonathan Jones: New England’s starting slot cornerback left the game midway through the second quarter with what was later announced to be a neck injury. While he was listed as questionable upon his departure, he eventually did not return to the contest and was replaced in the lineup by undrafted rookie Myles Bryant. However, Jones remained on the sideline for the remainder of the game which can be interpreted as a positive sign.
TE Ryan Izzo: The Patriots’ starting tight end, who entered the weekend listed as questionable on the injury report because of hamstring and hand ailments, first appeared to tweak his neck on a 3-yard run by Damien Harris in the second quarter. He initially stayed in the game but following an incomplete pass midway through the third period eventually had to leave it. Izzo and was later listed as questionable to return but did not come back. Just like Jonathan Jones, however, he too spent the rest of the contest on the sidelines as rookie Dalton Keene took his spot.
WR N’Keal Harry: N’Keal Harry departed for the locker room in the third quarter, but eventually did return again to finish the game with 34 snaps on offense. What was the reason for his brief departure? It is hard to tell from afar, but given the fact that he was back shortly thereafter and later available to talk to the media an equipment issue is not out of the question. Either way, Harry is likely fine.
CB J.C. Jackson: A hip injury forced J.C. Jackson to be a limited participant in practice throughout the week but did not stop him from having another strong game. However, for the second week in a row he was unable to go start-to-finish: Jackson came up limping following an incomplete pass in the early fourth quarter, and had to visit the blue medical tent on the sidelines. While the team did not announce an official injury status, the 25-year-old did not return and instead spent the rest of the game sitting on the bench with his right knee heavily wrapped.
What this means for the Patriots
The Patriots will have a quick turnaround following their game against the Chargers, with the Thursday night game versus the Rams taking place in just three days. Accordingly, New England’s injury statuses will be worth keeping a close eye on — especially considering how valuable all of the players listed above are to the team’s operation on offense, defense and also special teams.
While Harry does not appear to be dealing with any injury, Ryan Izzo would certainly be a loss given that the Patriots’ tight end position is rather unproven behind the third-year man: Dalton Keene has played in only two NFL games in his career, Devin Asiasi still on injured reserve, and Jordan Thomas only arriving in New England a couple of weeks ago. Izzo may not be a world beater at TE1 but he has proven himself serviceable.
At cornerback, meanwhile, J.C. Jackson and Jonathan Jones would be big losses versus the Rams’ high-powered offense. While their respective replacements on Sunday — Joejuan Williams and Myles Bryant — looked good in limited action, they are obviously a downgrade from the two starters. Luckily, neither Jackson’s nor Jones’ injuries appear to be of the major variety, so there is still a chance both will be good on Thursday to go after some rest.
As always, however, the Patriots’ practice report will tell the full story of the team’s medical situation. New England will release its first one later on Monday, but it will only be an estimation with the team not expected to actually practice.