Beyond the scoreboard, which ended up not hurting the Patriots at all in the standings, yesterday’s 34-27 loss to the Texans was a costly one for the Patriots. Wide Receiver Wes Welker, who in many ways is the man who makes the Patriots offense go, was lost for the playoffs, (and possibly all or most of next season) with what sources claim is a torn ACL and MCL.
The sight of Welker in tears on the bench, sobbing into a towel was probably pretty indicative of how Patriots fans felt at that moment as well. The doom and gloom is thick from the media as well, and while it is indisputably true that the Patriots will suffer as a result of not having Welker, I don’t need to read and hear about it for a whole week. I get it. After getting all the obligatory Welker stuff out of the way today, can we focus on what the Patriots can do, please? It’s a challenge, I know.
I’ve already seen people immediately giving credit now to Bill Polian and the Colts and their move of pulling their starters last week. These people missed the point of last week’s furor completely. The Colts gave up on a chance for history, while not really protecting their players. Reggie Wayne or Peyton Manning could’ve just as easily have gotten hurt in the first half of their “rest games’ on a non-contact play just as Welker was.
Chris Warner on Patriots Daily has the gut-churning gut check from yesterday.
The Patriots will face the Ravens this coming Sunday afternoon at 1:00pm. The Ravens feel they were robbed of a win when they came into Gillette in week four, though that isn’t unusual. Whenever the Ravens lose, they feel they were robbed.
Mike Reiss says that the mood was so somber after the game that it cannot bode well for next week. Adam Kilgore recaps a bad afternoon in Houston for the Patriots, complete with knee graphics not seen around these parts since the Tom Brady injury. Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots defense failing them once again in the fourth quarter. Shalise Manza Young says that another painful defensive lapse was overshadowed by the Welker injury.
Bob Ryan says that after all the hits Wes Welker has bounced up from, it is highly ironic that he was injured so severely on a play with no contact. Brian MacPherson says that the injury to Welker was not something that Bill Belichick could’ve prevented. Ron Borges says that Bill Belichick should be criticized for the “childish” manner in which he behaved after the game yesterday, but not for his decision to play Welker and the other starters. Jim Donaldson says that it is a raw deal for the Patriots. Howard Bryant says that if anything, the Welker injury underscores even further what a poor decision the Colts made last week. Michael Felger says that this team is the Patriots in name only.
Albert R. Breer says that the Patriots playoff hopes went down with Welker, as now the Ravens will be able to easily shut down Brady and Randy Moss and beat the Patriots 143-0 next Sunday. (OK, I made up that last part.) Karen Guregian says pretty much all the same stuff. Bill Burt says that the Patriots didn’t just lose Welker, they lost their momentum. Christopher Price gives us 10 things we can take away from yesterday’s game. Tom E. Curran is all negative after this one. He does list out five things from the game.
Monique Walker has Julian Edelman in the spotlight now as he will need to step in for Welker. Karen Guregian has a look at the Welker injury and Edelman stepping up. Donaldson says that Edelman will have big shoes to fill going forward. Reiss says that Edelman will be front and center next week. Kirk Minihane says that the Patriots will be without their only sure thing in the playoffs, and Edelman isn’t going to replace Welker.
Michael Sudhalter has Darius Butler getting his first NFL TD on an 91-yard interception return yesterday.
Reiss doesn’t understand (or agree with) the Quarterback shuffle by Bill Belichick yesterday. Breer notes that in addition to three broken ribs, Brady is also dealing with a broken finger on his throwing hand. Rapoport has Brady silent after the game about his playing time and his injuries. Young looks at the report before the game on Brady’s cracked ribs.
Walker’s notebook has Fred Taylor playing just about the entire game, and giving the Patriots a glimmer of the positive on an otherwise hellish day. Rapoport’s notebook has Brian Hoyer’s comeback ending short yesterday.
This might be the last week of football we have in New England this season. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to try to enjoy whatever time this team has left. Don’t the doom and gloom overwhelm you.
It could be worse. You could be in Pittsburgh this morning.