New England Patriots: Four Takeaways From Win Over Buffalo Bills

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Oct 12, 2014; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New England Patriots trainers attend to running back Stevan Ridley (22) during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. New England beats Buffalo 37 to 22. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

4. Injuries

Up until this point, the Patriots had done a decent job at avoiding the injury bug that was spreading across the NFL. Losing Sealver Siliga for a few weeks was really their biggest issue on the injury front until they rolled into Buffalo.

As I mentioned earlier, getting the win was great, but it may have come at a huge price. Jerod Mayo and Stevan Ridley both suffered serious knee injuries, and there is a very good chance they will be gone for the remainder of the season. In addition to those two, offensive lineman Dan Connolly also left the game hurt, although it doesn’t sound like his injury is nearly as serious.

But if Mayo and Ridley are in fact done for the year, that leaves the Patriots in a horrible position, particularly at the linebacker spot. Losing Ridley would suck, but they have the personnel to replace him. Shane Vereen will definitely see a lot more playing time, but rookie James White, and possible Jonas Gray will also see the field more often, as they are built more like Ridley. The Patriots can find a way to produce without Ridley. Moving on without Mayo on the other hand, is a whole different story.

What Mayo brings to this team goes far beyond his production on the field. We know he is an excellent run stopper, an elite blitzer, and is competent in pass coverage. But his leadership is what will really be missed. Many have acknowledged that Mayo is the heart and soul of this defense, and all you need to do to realize that, is just take a look at how the Pats reacted when he went down. They love him, and they need him to anchor them as the season goes on.

It is going to be very hard for this defense to recover from this, not only in the physical sense, but also in the mental sense. There is no free agent out there that can fix it, so it the Pats are just going to have to man up, and try to move on without their leader.