The Patriots got their first win of the 2017 season on Sunday but it didn’t come without a cost.
New England saw several players leave with injuries on the way to their 36-20 win over the Saints in New Orleans. Tight end Rob Gronkowski had a big day — 116 yards and a touchdown — before departing with a groin injury that headlines a slew of offensive players that got hurt on Sunday. Wide receiver Chris Hogan played through what appeared to be a leg injury, running back Rex Burkhead left with injured ribs and wide receiver Phillip Dorsett followed them out with a knee injury before the day was out.
Dorsett had three catches for 68 receiving yards while Hogan and Burkhead each caught touchdowns from Tom Brady as the team rolled to a 30-13 halftime lead. Brady was brilliant throughout and finished 30-of-39 for 447 yards and three touchdowns. He completed passes to nine different players and that variety may come in handy if any of Sunday’s injuries or Danny Amendola‘s concussion leaves the team in need of further shuffling next week.
That’s when they will face the Texans, who figure to be a defensive step up regardless of how many of the Patriots regulars are able to make it into the lineup. The Saints defense certainly didn’t provide much of a fight as they yielded 555 yards a week after allowing the Vikings to go for 470.
Safety Vonn Bell and cornerback Marshon Lattimore were both injured over the course of the afternoon, so they may be shorthanded as they try to correct the problems that have been a persistent part of life for the Saints in recent years.
The offense moved the ball well at times through the air, but they were down 17 points before the first quarter was over and that gap meant that a lot of the yards they gained amounted to very little of consequence. Adrian Peterson had eight carries for 26 yards, which may or may not make him feel better than he did last week but certainly didn’t do anything to show that he’ll have a major role unless the Saints are trying to salt away a lead late.
For that to happen, the defense is going to have to get a lot better than it has been through two weeks.