The New England Patriots were able to keep their playoff hopes alive thanks to a 23-21 victory over the Miami Dolphins in Week 17. While earning the W in a must-win setting was a positive for the team, there are some injury concerns coming out of it.
Let’s take a look at who was either announced as getting hurt during the contest or caught our eye after re-watching the game.
WR Nelson Agholor: Agholor came off the field after an incomplete pass in midway through second quarter, and was seen talking to head athletic trainer Jim Whalen. He did eventually return, though, but finished the contest with no receptions on one target in the third period.
CB Jonathan Jones: Jones was in the spotlight twice. The first came right after the two-minute warning in the second quarter, and it seemed he felt some discomfort after making a tackle on Jaylen Waddle. He did stay in the game, though, before getting shaken up again in the fourth period. Jones, who already entered the game with a chest injury, remained down after a collision on a catch-and-run play; it looked like he hurt his upper body or shoulder again. He walked off with members of the Patriots’ medical staff and did not return for the game’s final two defensive plays.
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley: New England’s starting off-ball linebacker went down on a punt return in the third quarter; he was part of a gang tackle on Miami return man Cedrick Wilson Jr. Bentley did jog off under his own power and sat out the next two plays before returning to the lineup.
WR Jakobi Meyers: The Patriots’ most reliable wide receiver remained on the ground following his touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. He did walk off under his own power, but headed into the medical tent and later the locker room. Meyers was initially announced as questionable to return because of a shoulder issue before eventually being ruled out shortly before the game was over.
What this means for the Patriots
While it appears neither Nelson Agholor nor Ja’Whaun Bentley suffered any concerning injuries, the statuses of Jonathan Jones and Jakobi Meyers are less clear at this point. That being said, the two were made available to talk to the media after the contest which usually can be seen as a positive sign — and not just that.
Both players downplayed their injuries in the locker room after the win. That would obviously be good news for New England: Meyers, as noted above, is the team’s most reliable receiver, with Jones one of its starting cornerbacks.
And given the current state of that position, Jones being close to full strength this week will be crucial. New England, after all, was already down several cornerbacks versus Miami — Jalen Mills (groin), Marcus Cannon (concussion) and Shaun Wade (healthy scratch) were ruled out, Jack Jones (knee) was placed on injured reserve — and will be going against one of the league’s better offenses this week.
Having as many hands as possible on deck will be key against the Buffalo Bills’ potent atttack in Week 18. Whether or not that is a realistic outlook remains to be seen, but the first injury report set to be released on Wednesday afternoon will paint a clearer picture.