The New England Patriots may have managed to hang on in their 30 - 23 win over the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome last night, but it's not all good news Monday morning as the dust settles. The Patriots looked to be running away with it at one point, but ended up letting the Falcons back in the game in a nail-biter, according to The Boston Globe on Sept. 30. And the worst thing is that may have happened in part due to the exit of Vince Wilfork in the first half.
It didn't look good to see Vince Wilfork limp off the field in the first half of the Patriots' win over Atlanta, and we're learning the news is about as bad as it can get.
According to a league source, Wilfork tore his right Achilles tendon. The Patriots first announced that the veteran had an ankle injury during the game, as he was spotted leaving the venue with his lower leg in a walking boot.
Things looked good with only 6:23 left in the fourth, when Stephen Gostkowski put the Pats up by 17 with a 49 yard field goal. But the Falcons made a late charge final moments of the game, before finally running out of gas with under a minute left.
Now it looks like New England will more than likely place Vince Wilfork on season-ending injured reserve. A team captain, he's been the linchpin of the Pats' defense for several years.
On a positive note, in this transition season for New England, last night was the first real sign their offensive unit might be hitting their stride. Rookie receiver Kenbrell Thompkins had a huge night, catching six balls for 127 yards and a touchdown.
Another upper would be cornerback Aqib Talib's performance in limiting damage from Atlanta's Julio Jones. While Talib was covering him, Matt Ryan only completed one pass for one yard out of eight attempts.
Talib is know for having that rare combination of speed, size and ball skills, and all of these special talents appeared to be on full display last night in Atlanta.
Also, in what was likely the Patriots' first real test of their defensive unit so far this season, it looks like they passed with flying colors, according to Musket Fire.
The Falcons ran the ball just 15 times, and the Patriots managed to hold them to only 58 rushing yards. And more importantly, the Pats defense production in the red zone was impressive.
The Patriots managed to hold back the Falcons, who came away with only one TD in six red zone appearances. Of course temper that with the Wilfork news.
The 31-year-old defensive tackle has played in at least 13 games for New England in every season since his rookie year in 2004. He's also played in all 16 regular season games for the Patriots in seven of his 10 seasons with the team, according to CBS Sports.
Robert Anderson, an NFL foot and ankle specialist said that although there's no time frame yet for Wilfork's recovery, Achilles injuries typically take six to nine months to recover from.