|01.03.10 at 7:14 pm ET|
Multiple outlets are reporting that Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker tore both MCL and ACL in his left knee in Sunday’s loss to the Texans. Welker suffered the injury in the first quarter when the receiver’s knee buckled after he turned up field after making a catch.
The injury is a serious blow to the New England passing game. The 28-year-old entered the game with 122 catches for 1,336 yards and four touchdowns this season, and late last week, he was named to his second consecutive Pro Bowl.
“He means a lot to this offense,” said tight end Benjamin Watson. “He makes a lot of plays for us, but it’s a part of football. It happens on every team. We’ve had guys go down and come back its part of the deal.”
|01.03.10 at 6:42 pm ET|
Thanks to the Texans’ PR staff, here are some postgame quotes from the Patriots’ locker room:
Patriots coach Bill Belichick
(on the loss) “Right now we put this game behind us and on Tuesday we come in and get ready for whoever we play next. We worked all year to be in this position, to be in the playoffs and we’re looking forward to getting started on Tuesday.”
(on New England Patriots WR Wes Welker’s injury) “I don’t have an update on him.”
(on the substitution pattern between Patriots QB’s Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer during the game) “We really didn’t have anything set. We just went out and played.”
(on next week’s playoff game) “Whoever we play we’ll try to get ready for. We’ll find out who they are tonight and we’ll start getting ready for whoever that is.”
(on the Texans performance) “They played a good game.”
(on Texans WR Andre Johnson) “He’s a good player. I’ve said that all week.”
Patriots QB Brian Hoyer
(on how it felt to play in the NFL) “It’s good anytime you get a chance to get in and play some real live action. Obviously, whenever you go out there you want to win. So I’m disappointed we didn’t get that last drive in the end zone. It’s just quality reps against a good team, a great team the Texans are. They’re fighting for their playoff lives and we just try to go out there and battle. No matter what situation you go in, you want to win. It’s a disappointing filling right now.”
(on the status of WR Wes Welker) “I don’t know anything about it.”
|01.03.10 at 5:19 pm ET|
Say this for Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, they didn’t let the devastating left knee injury to Wes Welker affect the way they played the rest of the game.
Brady came out with 4:45 remaining in the second quarter and many assumed the Patriots’ Pro Bowl quarterback had seen his last action of the day.
At the time he was 9-of-13.
In came Brian Hoyer, and symbolic of the day, handed off to Fred Taylor, who fumbled at his own 1. The ball was recovered by Bernard Pollard in the end zone for a touchdown.
But Hoyer recovered to lead the Pats on a field goal drive to tie the game, 13-13. Hoyer found Welker’s replacement Julian Edelman three times on the drive. Edelman, who figures to be prominent now that Welker’s is hurt, was the player of the game for the Pats, with 10 catches for 103 yards.
“I think Julian stepped up and played well,” Hoyer said. “He’s a tough guy. He’s going to fight for every yard. That’s what you saw today. I think people been comparing him to Wes for a long time but Julian is his own player and he did really well today.” Read the rest of this entry »
|01.03.10 at 5:03 pm ET|
The loss of Wes Welker for an extended stretch will mean some changes for the Patriots passing game.
Welker injured his left knee in the first quarter of Sunday’s 34-27 loss to the Texans in Houston and did not return for the rest of the afternoon. The severity of the injury was not known immediately after the game, but if Welker is missing at the start of the postseason next week, the Patriots’ depth at wide receiver will be sorely tested going forward.
“I don’t have any update,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said repeatedly after the game when asked about Welker.
With just under 10 minutes left in the first quarter, Welker hauled in a 12-yard pass from quarterback Tom Brady and turned up the field, but he slipped slightly, and his left knee appeared to buckle. Though untouched, the receiver collapsed to the turf in pain. After a few moments, he was helped off the field and did not put any pressure on the knee on the way toward the sideline.
Once on the bench, Welker buried his face in a towel, clearly disconsolate about what happened. He was placed on the back of a golf cart and taken off the field to the locker room.
“He means a lot to this offense,” tight end Benjamin Watson said. “He makes a lot of plays for us, but it’s a part of football. It happens on every team. We’ve had guys go down and come back its part of the deal.”
If the Pro Bowler is not able to go when the playoffs begin next week, New England will turn to rookie wide receiver Julian Edelman in the slot. The Kent State product saw most of the reps at Welker’s position for the rest of Sunday’s game and was targeted 15 times by Patriots passers. He finished with a career-high 10 catches for 103 yards.
“I think Julian stepped up and played well,” said quarterback Brian Hoyer, who saw time in relief of Brady on Sunday and finished 8-for-12 for 71 yards. “I think he did a great job.”
Edelman has surpassed many of the expectations that were placed on him at the start of the season. As a result of his performance on Sunday, the former college quarterback, taken in the seventh round of the 2009 draft, finished his first regular season as a professional with 37 catches for 359 yards and a touchdown.
However, since he arrived prior to the start of the 2007 season, the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Welker has consistently been one of the best receivers in the game. The 28-year-old entered the game with 122 catches for 1,336 yards and four touchdowns this season, and late last week he was named to his second consecutive Pro Bowl.
“He’s a tough guy. For his stature, he’s got the biggest heart on our team,” Brady said of Welker in the wake of a 10-catch effort recently against Carolina. “He’s just been such a big part of the offense since he’s been here. Consistent, reliable, durable, explosive player. Catches the ball every time you throw it to him. He’s pretty awesome.”
In addition, Welker and Randy Moss have formed a dynamic combination over the last three seasons together in New England. Welker’s presence underneath and fearlessness when it comes to going across the middle — few receivers take a pounding like the Texas Tech product — consistently makes him a focal point for opposing defenses, freeing up things for Moss as a deep threat. Moss does the same for Welker, creating a symbiotic relationship the likes of which the NFL has rarely seen.
Without Welker, expect the Patriots to try to use Moss differently. New England has appeared to line him up in the slot more than usual as of late — his touchdown two weeks ago against Buffalo came when he was in the slot — and could do more of the same going forward.
However, if Welker is out for any length of time, it’s clear that the Patriots’ depth at the wide receiver position will be tested in the postseason: In addition to the Welker injury, it appeared Sam Aiken — who has also been utilized as the No. 3 receiver, and could be a candidate to see more time on offense as a result of what happened to Welker — was apparently hurt late in Sunday’s loss. He’s struggled with a shoulder injury in recent weeks and appeared to have trouble with it again on Sunday.
|01.03.10 at 4:29 pm ET|
Patriots coach Bill Belichick was very short and to the point following his team’s 34-27 loss to the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on Sunday.
“Right now, we put this game behind us,” Belichick said. “We come in Tuesday getting ready for who we play next.”
With the Bills and Panthers winning Sunday, the Patriots win the No. 3 seed IF the Bengals lose tonight.
Belichick was then asked several times about an update on Wes Welker, who was carted off following a serious left knee injury in the first quarter.
“I don’t have any update. I don’t have any update. I don’t have any update.” Belichick said.
“We played the game the way we felt like we needed to play it.” Belichick said when asked about the decision to play starters, including Tom Brady, Welker and Randy Moss.
Other comments from Belichick:
“We just played the game. Whoever we play, we’ll try to get ready for them. We’ll start getting ready on Tuesday.”
“They played a good game,” Belichick on Texans 4th-quarter comeback.
“Right now, we’re going to prepare for whoever we play next.”
|01.03.10 at 4:06 pm ET|
The Patriots and Texans just wrapped up their game at Reliant Stadium, with Houston taking a 34-27 decision in the regular-season finale for both teams. The Patriots are 10-6 and will open the playoffs next weekend at Gillette Stadium, while the Texans are 9-7 and still could make the postseason.
It’s hard to read too much into the final numbers for this game — the Patriots did start their starters, but many of them were pulled before the end of the game. (As New England was driving for what would have been a game-tying score late in the fourth quarter, it was Brian Hoyer who was leading the New England offense, not Tom Brady.) While the Texans were playing a must-win game, the Patriots sat many key players at the start, and shuffled some guys in and out of the game as it continued.
The game was over when the Texans stopped Hoyer and the Patriots (a short pass for Julian Edelman was off the mark) on fourth down with 18 seconds left.
The biggest story of the game? The loss of Wes Welker in the first quarter to a left knee injury. Welker went down after appearing to slip on the turf, and he looked to be in tremendous pain. He was helped to the sideline and was eventually carted off. Most of his snaps were taken by Edelman, who finished with 10 catches for 103 yards. The long-term impact of the Welker injury remains to be seen, but it’s likely that Edelman will see the majority of snaps the rest of the way in his place.
Overall, it was another sluggish second half for the Patriots offense — in the third and fourth quarters, New England managed just one offensive touchdown on one sustained drive, a nine-play, 71-yard sequence that took 3:53 and ended with an 11-yard run from veteran running back Fred Taylor. (The Pats did get another score on a 91-yard interception return for a TD by rookie cornerback Darius Butler.) Other than that, the Patriots offense struggled once again in the second half away from home.
Brady finished 17-for-26 for 186 yards with one interception. His counterpart, Matt Schaub, was 24-for-39 for 303 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Taylor had seven rushes for 33 yards and two touchdowns for New England, while Edelman (10 catches, 103 receiving yards) was the No. 1 receiving option for the Patriots. On the other side, running back Arian Foster had 20 carries for 119 yards and two touchdowns for the Texans, who moved the ball at will in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots led 27-13 after Butler’s interception return early in the fourth quarter before the Texans reeled off 21 unanswered points to keep their playoff hopes alive.
In light of the injury to Wes Welker, was Bill Belichick wrong to play his regulars in the season finale?
- No - the players needed a tuneup, and you can't anticipate injury (80%, 450 Votes)
- Yes - he should have kept them on the sidelines to avoid an injury (20%, 111 Votes)
Total Voters: 561
|01.03.10 at 3:54 pm ET|
A three-yard touchdown run by Arian Foster puts the capper on a four-play, 28-yard drive that took 1:55 and gives Houston a 34-27 lead with 1:54 left.
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