The New England Patriots entered their Week 6 game against the Las Vegas Raiders with a league-high 17 players listed on their injury report, including seven that were ruled out and unable to make the trip in the first place. Things did only get worse on game day: not only did the team end up losing 21-17, it also saw several more contributors go down with injuries.
Let’s assess the damage after re-watching the game to find out what it might mean for the Patriots moving forward.
G Michael Onwenu: Even though he entered the game listed as questionable with an ankle injury, Onwenu was able to dress as part of the 48-man game day roster. However, he did not take the field: the starting right guard spent the entire contest on the sidelines, with head coach Bill Belichick later confirming that he was merely an emergency option.
ED Keion White: The rookie was slow to get up following a short run midway through the first quarter: he had collided with teammate Kyle Dugger. White walked off the field under his own power, headed into the medical tent, and was quickly ruled out for the remainder of the game due to a head injury.
S Jabrill Peppers: Peppers remained down after a run in the late second period. He apparently got some dirt in his eyes, but did not miss any significant playing time. Peppers ended the game with 65 of a possible 70 snaps.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson: The first offensive play of the second half saw Stevenson carry the ball for 15 yards, and then immediately remain down after hitting his head. He slowly walked off the field to the medical tent, and was later announced as questionable to return with head and ankle issues. However, he eventually made his way back to the contest in the fourth quarter and attributed his missed time due to his ankle getting taped up again.
CB Jonathan Jones: A third-quarter pass from Raiders QB Brian Hoyer to wideout Tre Tucker did not just help the team convert a 3rd-and-4 via a 48-yard gain, it also left Jonathan Jones on the ground with an injury. The starting cornerback had hurt his knee, and was announced as questionable to return. He did eventually come back and ended the game 15 plays short of the maximum 70.
TE Hunter Henry: Henry limped off the field following a run in the early fourth period, but he did not enter the blue medical tent despite being listed as questionable to return with an ankle issue. He was back on the field a short time later.
LB Josh Uche: After playing 19 snaps and one quarterback hit, Uche headed to the locker room in the fourth quarter — his final snap had been a third down on the first play of that period. Already battling a knee injury entering the game, he was announced as questionable to return with a foot issue and did not come back onto the field.
What this means for the Patriots
As noted above, the Patriots already led the NFL in players listed on the injury report heading into their game in Las Vegas. That list might only get longer now.
While it appears the injuries suffered by Jabrill Peppers and Rhamondre Stevenson in particular are not major problems, and both Hunter Henry and Jonathan Jones appear to be fine as well, the other two players who got banged up are in a different category. It remains to be seen whether or not Josh Uche and Keion White will be available against the Buffalo Bills this week.
Uche’s ailment is somewhat of a mystery. His final snap with 15:00 left in the fourth quarter did no see him suffer any obvious injury, but he still left for the locker room shortly thereafter. Given that he had already entered the game with a knee issue, this latest one only adds insult to literal injury.
As for Keion White, he was placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol. While there is a chance he returns for the Bills game, it seems unlikely given how seriously head injuries are taken in the league nowadays.
In case one or both are out versus Buffalo, the Patriots will likely us the same personnel they employed in the fourth quarter against the Raiders. Anfernee Jennings will man one edge with Jahlani Tavai moving up from his off-ball position to line up opposite him; Mack Wilson, meanwhile, will fill Tavai’s spot among the linebackers.
More than anything, though, the injuries suffered on Sunday are further blows to a team that very well might be the most banged-up in the league at the moment. How banged up exactly will be seen: the Patriots will practice on Tuesday, but not release their first practice report until one day later.
They will then host the Bills at Gillette Stadium on Sunday for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff.