Aaron Hernandez‘s ankle injury costs New England Patriots the game
Although initial X-rays have revealed no damage to the bone, more will be clear once Aaron Hernandez has an MRI of the injured right ankle.
The New England Patriots tight end, who signed a five-year deal worth $40 million with the team only last month was lined up to block Arizona Cardinals receiver Julian Edelman on a screen pass. Julian Edelman moved up upon the reception to gain 6-yards bit fell on the back of Aaron Hernandez’s leg, so he lay down in pain in the field for a few minutes until team trainers helped him to the locker room.
Later, Aaron Hernandez was seen sporting a walking boot and crutches as he exited the stadium.
Aaron Hernandez’s injury status wasn’t available with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
However, without Aaron Hernandez on-field, the New England Patriots defense greatly struggled to find the end zone until quarterback Tom Brady made a five yard pass for a touchdown to tight end Rob Gronkowski for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter of their 20-18 loss. However, Bill Belichick insisted that the Philadelphia Eagles were attuned such changes due to injury.
"You can't go into the game just counting on one guy, any guy," said Bill Belichick. “It’s not the first time a player has been injured in a game."
Tom Brady too believed the New England Patriots had to learn to carry on without Aaron Hernandez or any such injury that may compromise to the offense’s stability.
"I'm sure he's not going to be the only one we lose this year at some point,” said Tom Brady, “but we have to figure out a way to still move the ball effectively throughout the course of the game – enough where we can score more than 18 points."
But the fact remains that Aaron Hernandez’s injury forced the New England Patriots to reconsider their multiple tight end formation, one which has remained dominant in 80 percent of their offensive plays since the start of the season.
In the 2012 season opener alone, the New England Patriots executed 67 offensive plays against the Tennessee Titans under the formation, but that number dropped to 20 of 77 against the Arizona Cardinals. Aaron Hernandez completed six passes for 59 yards including a touchdown in the early season game.
“Hopefully he’s fine…He’s a great player,” said Rob Gronkowski. “"He's part of the game plan the whole week, obviously… (But) we gotta be more prepared and be able to go out and do the offense."
The New England Patriots accordingly shifted to a three-receiver formation but even that couldn’t keep the offense afloat. The opponents caught on to the issues within the New England Patriot’s offensive line.
"When he went down, it took away a lot of things they are able to do," stated Arizona Cardinals safety James Sanders. "It's unfortunate for them, but it helped us out as a unit.”