The New England Patriots suffered two key injuries on the offensive line at both guard positions when LG Logan Mankins and RG Dan Connolly both went down. Mankins’s ankle rolled twice at the very beginning of the game, and the Patriots needed to bring in the versatile Nick McDonald to fill out the rest of the game.
I came away impressed with the work McDonald did in run blocking, and the offensive line didn’t miss a beat despite the injuries two both starting guards. Replacing Mankins is no easy task, but McDonald did a more than credible job in his stead.
Dan Connolly suffered a back injury in this game in the first half, and the New England Patriots replaced him with Donald Thomas, who has emerged as one of the best backup guards in the league. Thomas is of starting quality, because he is astute in pass protection and solid as a run blocker as well.
It’s great to have quality depth on the offensive line, especially since we don’t know how long those two will be out. Mankins came into the game listed questionable- but with a different injury- and he could end up missing next week’s game against the Indianapolis Colts. Connolly is also in doubt after not returning from the locker room.
Mankins was seen with a walking boot, so the early prognosis is that at least one of them will be out against Indy- likely both.
“That’s why everybody has to be ready,” Belichick said. “You just never know when the bell’s going to ring and both Nick and Donald answered it.”
Yes they did, and Thomas has answered the bell time and time again this season.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.