The New England Patriots’ return to primetime ended in disappointment. The team lost 33-26 to the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving night, and along the way also saw several of its players get shaken up.
Let’s take a look at who was either announced as injured during the game or caught our eye after re-watching the contest.
WR Jakobi Meyers: The Patriots started their first possession with a 26-yard completion from Mac Jones to Jakobi Meyers, but it came at a cost. Meyers came down hard on his right shoulder while making the reception, and was forced to exit the game. He headed into the locker room but returned to the sidelines later in the first half. Meyers eventually returned but was shaken up a second time in the third quarter; he clearly was not at full strength over the final 15 of his 16 total snaps.
WR DeVante Parker: Following the Patriots’ first offensive series, Parker went into the blue medical tent to have his lower right leg looked at. He did miss the next drive — a three-and-out — but returned to the sideline and eventually finished the game with 47 snaps as well as a team-high 80 receiving yards on four catches.
RB Damien Harris: The first possession of the second half saw Harris exit the game with a slight limp following a run for no yards. He was later deemed questionable to return with a thigh injury and ruled out before the conclusion of the game. Afterwards, the fourth-year man was spotted on a pair of crutches in the locker room.
S Devin McCourty: A 36-yard completion to Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson in the fourth quarter saw McCourty limping away from the scene of the crime; the veteran safety had come in to tackle Jefferson. Nonetheless, he stayed in the game and ended up with a 100 percent playing-time share.
WR Nelson Agholor: It was not the Patriots’ final offensive play of the day, but an incomplete pass on 4th-and-16 just inside the two-minute warning very much sealed the deal. The target on that play? Nelson Agholor, who stayed down after stretching out for the throw. No injury was announced, but Agholor did not reenter the game for the final three offensive plays later in the fourth quarter.
What this means for the Patriots
New England’s injury list grew substantially on Thanksgiving, even with two of the issues — DeVante Parker’s and Devin McCourty’s — seemingly not too big a concern. The others, however, are definitely worth keeping an eye on heading into a pivotal Week 13 matchup with the Buffalo Bills.
Jakobi Meyers returned to the game from his shoulder injury but, as noted above, was less than a hundred percent. How his body will respond in the coming days will be critical, even though there is some optimism about his outlook.
The same cannot be said with certainty about Damien Harris and Nelson Agholor.
Losing Harris for any period of time would further put stress on New England’s running back group and especially its top member, Rhamondre Stevenson. The sophomore is already carrying a heavy workload, but an injury to Harris would make his role even more important. The same is true for the depth RBs on the team’s pay roll: rookies Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris on the active roster, and third-year man J.J. Taylor who recently re-signed with the practice squad.
As for Agholor, the game against the Vikings was his best since Week 2. Seeing it end in injury was unfortunate, although the extent of the issue is not known at this point. Should he miss time, though, the Patriots will likely give more snaps to rookie Tyquan Thornton as well as Kendrick Bourne.
Whatever the injuries may be, the Patriots’ first practice report of Week 13 will tell us more about it. New England will release it on Monday for the upcoming Thursday night game against Buffalo.