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devilsdancefloor 12-09-2008 11:42 AM


Patriots coping after injuries to Bruschi, Wilfork, Sanders
Associated Press

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- With just three regular-season games left, there's plenty of uncertainty surrounding the New England Patriots.

Will they make the playoffs for the sixth straight season? And, if they do, how many of their first-string defenders will be able to play in them after three more were injured in Sunday's 24-21 win at Seattle.

"We had a lot of players step in for us defensively," coach Bill Belichick Monday.

That's been a season-long pattern.

Only five of the defensive players who started the season opener were physically able to play at the end of the victory over the Seahawks. The Patriots lost three key players in the first half -- linebacker Tedy Bruschi with a left knee injury, nose tackle Vince Wilfork with a shoulder injury and safety James Sanders with a rib injury.

They already were without safety Rodney Harrison and linebacker Adalius Thomas, both on the injured reserve list and done for the season. Defensive end Ty Warren missed his third game in four weeks with a thigh injury.

And on offense quarterback Tom Brady went on injured reserve after the first game and running back Laurence Maroney joined him after the fifth.

Yet the Patriots still have a chance to reach the playoffs. At 8-5, they're in a three-way tie with Miami and the New York Jets for the AFC East lead.

"It's a testament to the system and the coaching staff and what they do with schemes," recently unretired linebacker Junior Seau said in a conference call Monday from San Jose, where the Patriots are preparing for Sunday's game against the Raiders in Oakland. "Obviously, being competitive in the NFL with the injuries that have occurred this season, it's pretty impressive that we're still in the hunt."

Seau rejoined the Patriots last Thursday to add depth at the depleted linebacker spot. The previous day, linebacker Rosevelt Colvin returned. He hadn't played since being cut by Houston in training camp after New England allowed him to leave as a free agent after last season.

Bruschi returned to Boston after Sunday's game and was examined, although no results were released. Belichick had no updates on the injuries. The next indication of the severity of the injuries would come Wednesday when the Patriots issue their first practice participation report of the week.

They also played Sunday without linebackers Pierre Woods, Thomas' replacement who has a jaw injury, and Vince Redd, suffering from an ankle injury. There was another brief scare when 12-year veteran linebacker Mike Vrabel was shaken up. But he missed just one play before returning to lead the defense.

Belichick said Vrabel, defensive end Richard Seymour and safety Brandon Meriweather kept the defenders working together.

"Those guys are involved with a lot of communication and adjustments we had to make, by nature of their position," Belichick said. "They were really solid that way, especially Mike as the signal-caller. He's very good, probably as good as anybody could possibly be in that situation with the number of things he has to handle."

With all the injuries, defensive linemen Mike Wright and LeKevin Smith played more than expected.

"They play behind some very good players and I think they've learned from them and" defensive line coach Pepper Johnson, Belichick said. "When they've gotten a chance to play in the past, they've done a solid job for us."

They may have to keep doing it against the Raiders on Sunday and in the final two games -- at home against Arizona and at Buffalo.

Miami would win the AFC East by winning its remaining three games against San Francisco, Kansas City and the Jets. The Jets would take the division with victories in their three games against Buffalo, Seattle and Miami. The Dolphins and Jets currently have the tiebreaker edge if either ties the Patriots for the division's best record.

A wild-card berth appears to be even a longer shot for New England, which trails Indianapolis and Baltimore by one game in that race.

For now, Belichick is focusing on Sunday's game against the struggling Raiders, not on what his team must do to make the playoffs.

"I'm sure if we do, somebody will let us know," he said.

revefsreleets 12-09-2008 12:17 PM

The ONLY reason they are still in contention is that schedule. The Squaks then the Raiders? Who's next, Syracuse?

Glace 12-09-2008 12:42 PM

Yeah, I don't know how you go to the superbowl and get a schedule like that....

Oh wait...They're the PATRIOTS*

fansince'76 12-09-2008 12:54 PM


Originally Posted by revefsreleets (Post 492625)
The ONLY reason they are still in contention is that schedule. The Squaks then the Raiders? Who's next, Syracuse?

Yep, and they'll be unceremoniously booted on WC weekend.

Fire Haley 12-09-2008 02:11 PM

Every team that plays the Steelers goes home broken.

Cowboys Add More Injuries To Insult In Defeat


Nick Eatman Staff Writer
December 8, 2008 12:05 AM

PITTSBURGH - As if the Cowboys' training staff hasn't been busy enough.

But Sunday's game was no different from what has been a theme the entire season: injuries, injuries, and then a few more injuries.

The Cowboys were banged up coming into the game and are now limping home, not just with a 20-13 loss in which the Steelers rallied for 17 straight points in the fourth quarter, but one that saw the Cowboys suffer even more medical setbacks.

Not only were they playing without Marion Barber, who didn't make the trip to Pittsburgh because of a dislocated toe on his right foot, but they were also closely monitoring DeMarcus Ware, who hyper-extended his left knee last week. Ware ended up playing and recorded his 16th sack this season.

Ware might have gotten out of this game unscathed, but many of his teammates did not.

At least seven players were taken off the field, missing at least a play, although only guard Montrae Holland did not return. Holland suffered a sprained knee, forcing Cory Procter to finish the game at left guard.

Both tight end Jason Witten and safety Keith Davis went to the locker room before returning to action. Witten had a sprained ankle early in the game and then had to be taken to the locker room for X-rays on his chest. But just like he did last month when he played with a broken rib, Witten finished the game.

As for Davis, he suffered a sprained left knee when he collided with Ware while trying to make a tackle. Davis said after the game that he will undergo an MRI on Monday.

Cornerback Terence Newman left the game in the first quarter and missed a series with blurred vision, although he returned with seemingly no lasting effects.

Pacman Jones also suffered a minor neck injury when he muffed a punt in the second quarter. But he returned on the Cowboys' next possession. Bradie James also suffered a neck injury, but returned shortly afterwards, and defensive tackle Jay Ratliff was dinged up towards the end of the game.

The Cowboys gave no official word to the severity of each injury.

The_WARDen 12-09-2008 02:21 PM

is it karma or is it that the Cheatriots D is like 500 years old?

The Patriot 12-09-2008 03:01 PM

Atleast we still have Matt Light.

missedgehead 12-09-2008 03:08 PM

Whatever their schedule and injury issues, the Pats are finding ways to win

The Duke 12-09-2008 03:13 PM


Originally Posted by fansince'76 (Post 492657)
Yep, and they'll be unceremoniously booted on WC weekend.

ravens and colts will be 5th and 6th seeds. Miami of NY will win the division

I guarantee it.........


Originally Posted by The Patriot (Post 492797)
Atleast we still have Matt Light.


man, you're a riot

SteelCurtain7 12-09-2008 04:06 PM

Yeah, how well did Matt Light protect Brady in last year's SB*?

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