The New England Patriots’ 14-10 victory over the Buffalo Bills was a throwback game of sorts: in an age of high-flying passing offenses, New England won by relying on its running game and a stout defensive performance. That approach has helped the team solidify its standing atop the AFC East and AFC as a whole.
Needless to say that there is a lot to feel good about at One Patriot Place on this Victory Tuesday. That being said, there are still some questions coming out of the game in Buffalo, especially in relation to injuries: multiple players went down during the contest, with two noteworthy ones unable to finish the contest.
With that said, let’s take a closer look at that game to find out who was dinged up and what it might mean in the grand scheme of things.
RB Damien Harris: Harris left the field after a 2-yard run late in the first half, waving to the sideline that he would need to come off. He jogged off the field and into the locker room, emerging later than his teammates from halftime. Despite being listed as questionable to return because of a hamstring injury, Harris reentered the contest. However, his comeback did not last long: he came up limping again after a 22-yard run in the third quarter and did not return to the game.
LB Kyle Van Noy: Van Noy stayed down on one knee following a short Buffalo run and briefly left the game after the play. However, it appears as if he might have been dealing with an equipment issue rather than any injury. Either way, the veteran linebacker returned.
LB Matthew Judon: After making a tackle on a 17-yard run in the late fourth quarter, Judon remained on the ground and had to be tended to by the Patriots’ medical staff. The veteran linebacker missed five plays but returned to the contest to rush the passer on Josh Allen’s incomplete throw on fourth down that effectively sealed the game for New England.
S Adrian Phillips: One play before that fourth down stop, Phillips registered a pass breakup against tight end Dawson Knox. The play was a very good one on the safety’s part, and he rightfully celebrated it. Unfortunately, his celebration was short-lived: Phillips went to the ground with an apparent knee injury and left the game before the Patriots’ final defensive play of the day.
What this means for the Patriots
While the Kyle Van Noy and Matthew Judon should be alright moving forward — the latter even said so himself during his postgame press conference — the statuses of Damien Harris and especially Adrian Phillips are worth keeping a close eye on. Based on the fact that he joined the rest of the running back group in the interview room, Harris should be fine moving forward.
Phillips, meanwhile, is a major question mark with the Patriots heading into their Week 14 bye. The Patriots’ medical staff did conduct a preliminary ACL test on his right knee, but no results of that or any follow-up MRI have been reported just yet.
Needless to say, losing Phillips for any extended period of time would be a major blow to the New England defense. After all, the 29-year-old is a valuable member of the team’s secondary due to his ability to play the “star” role as a safety/linebacker hybrid and help out against the run and in coverage.
With the Patriots not scheduled to play this week, their next injury report will not come out until next Tuesday.