The New England Patriots’ season-ending loss to the Buffalo Bills was a disappointment from start — quite literally — to finish. Adding insult to proverbial injury is the fact that multiple Patriots players did, well, get injured during the contest.
Let’s take a look at who was either announced as getting hurt during the contest or caught our eye after re-watching the 35-23 loss.
S Jabrill Peppers: On the kickoff return following Jakobi Meyers’ first-quarter touchdown, Peppers tripped over teammate Myles Bryant while chasing the play from behind. He walked off under his own power but with a noticeable limp, and headed into blue medical tent on the sidelines and later the locker room. But while Peppers was eventually deemed questionable to return with an ankle injury, he did re-enter the contest.
LB DaMarcus Mitchell: The rookie defender stayed down after a Bills punt return early in the second period. He too went into the medical tent and the locker room, before being announced as questionable to return with a head injury. As opposed to Jabrill Peppers, however, Mitchell never made his way back onto the field and was ruled out at the half.
LB Matthew Judon: Following a short run on the drive following Mitchell’s injury, the Patriots’ best defender went down as well. Judon fell over backwards, and immediately grabbed his left ankle. He walked off and was announced as questionable to come back, doing just that later in the second period. The Pro Bowler eventually finished the game with 40 defensive snaps (68%).
OT Conor McDermott: New England’s starting right tackle got rolled up from behind on a short pass to Rhamondre Stevenson in the second quarter. He did stay down after the play and had to leave the field, but ended up missing only one play.
S Kyle Dugger: Dugger went down in the late third quarter, getting unintentionally tripped by Bills quarterback Josh Allen on a tackle attempt. He walked off under his own power but returned to the field after sitting out one play. Dugger, like McDermott, ended up participating in all but one possible snap on the day.
G Michael Onwenu: New England’s ultra-reliable starting right guard stayed down after an incomplete pass in the fourth quarter that was negated on a hold against teammate David Andrews. Onwenu sat out six total plays before returning to the lineup later that period. He ended the game with 62 snaps (91%), including 11 after his unannounced injury.
WR DeVante Parker: Playing one of his best games of the season, Parker was slow to get up following a deep incompletion midway through the fourth quarter. He did stay in the game, though, and appeared to be fine.
What this means for the Patriots
From afar, it appears that none of the injuries suffered by Patriots players on Sunday should be of the longer-term variety. The biggest concern is probably DaMarcus Mitchell’s head injury, but he still should be ready to return for offseason workouts.
As for the other six players listed above, they too should be all cleared at that point. The question, however, is whether or not all of them will be back with the Patriots for next season.