While they played some good football for stretches and had one of the NFL’s best team on the brink of defeat, the New England Patriots eventually suffered a 35-29 overtime loss at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6. To make matters worse, the Patriots also saw numerous of their players go down with injuries.
Let’s take a closer look at who got hurt, and what it might mean in the grand scheme of things.
S Adrian Phillips: Phillips suffered an apparent foot injury on the Cowboys’ first touchdown of the day. The veteran safety went into the blue medical tent on the sidelines and later into the locker room. However, he returned not long after and reentered the game later in the first quarter. When all was said and done he had played three fourths of defensive snaps.
CB Jonathan Jones: Jones remained on the ground following a deep Cowboys completion in the first quarter that was eventually called back due to an offensive penalty. Like Adrian Phillips, the starting cornerback also went into the medical tent and the locker room. He too returned: while listed as questionable due to a rib injury, Jones missed only minimal time and after returning in the second period ended up playing 44 of 89 defensive snaps on the day.
QB Mac Jones: The Patriots’ starting quarterback was sacked hard on a play-action concept in the second period, and appeared to get shaken up a bit while also losing the football. However, he did not miss any playing time and ended the game with a solid stat-line: Jones went 15-for-21 for 229 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. He did not appear to be bothered by the sack in any way.
LB Dont’a Hightower: Hightower was on the field for the Patriots’ goal-line stand in the late second quarter, and was actually the first player to fall on Dak Prescott’s fumble on fourth down. Coming out of halftime, however, he suddenly was announced as questionable to return due to an elbow issue. The team captain did return, though.
LB Chase Winovich: Winovich was seen limping off the field following a Patriots punt in the early third quarter. The 26-year-old headed to the locker room and was later announced as questionable to return with a hamstring injury. He was later downgraded to doubtful and finally ruled out for the remainder of the game in the fourth quarter.
DT Christian Barmore: New England’s rookie defensive tackle was announced as questionable to return with a shoulder ailment in the third period, but there was no obvious moment of him suffering the injury. Barmore did return to the game.
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley: Playing arguably his best game of the season, Bentley hurt his ribs on a tackle against Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz in the third quarter. While he was not immediately ruled out after leaving the game, but rather listed as questionable, he still became one of two players to get injured and not return to the contest (the other being the aforementioned Chase Winovich)
LB Matthew Judon: Judon has been the Patriots’ best defender through six games, which means that losing him for any extended stretch of time would be disastrous. Luckily for the Patriots he dodged a bullet after seemingly hurting his knee late in the fourth quarter. Judon missed no time and was back for the next defensive play a series later.
RB Damien Harris: Entering the game listed as questionable due to a rib injury, Harris limped off the field after a 3-yard run in the fourth quarter. The Patriots brought on rookie Rhamondre Stevenson on the next snap — a 1-yard touchdown run — but Harris was back on the next offensive possession.
CB Justin Bethel: The Patriots used Bethel as an edge rusher on the game-tying field goal attempt in the late fourth quarter, but he appeared to twist his left ankle while sailing past the successful kick. Bethel did return in overtime.
What this means for the Patriots
Even though only two of the players listed above were unable to finish the game, there are multiple injury situations worth keeping a close eye on heading into preparations for the upcoming Week 8 contest against the New York Jets. The defensive back positions in particular are an area of concern.
New England, after all, is thin at cornerback and had to rely on career special teamer Bethel to play four snaps on Sunday. If the injuries suffered by him, Jonathan Jones or Adrian Phillips turn out to be more serious than they initially looked like it would put further pressure on a secondary that is already thinner than desired: Stephon Gilmore was traded to Carolina; Shaun Wade is dealing with a concussion; Joejuan Williams and Myles Bryant have yet to show they can be viable options.
The Patriots will release their first injury report of the week on Wednesday, and it should give us more clarity about the overall status of the team — both in regards to the players listed here, and to the ones who found themselves on the injury list last week.