The New England Patriots may have improved to 8-0 with a convincing 27-10 shellacking of the Washington Redskins Sunday afternoon, however, it came at a cost.
Nursing an already battered offensive line, left tackle Sebastian Vollmer exited the game early on with concussion-like symptoms, leaving the team with just five offensive lineman for the majority of the second half.
In addition, running back Dion Lewis went down with a harrowing knee injury in the third quarter, immediately falling motionlessly to the turf after attempting to juke a Washington defender following a reception.
While the injury appeared substantial, the Patriots are optimistic that Lewis will only miss a limited amount of time. The team believes that the 25-year old suffered a left MCL sprain rather than a more serious ACL tear, holding their prayers while awaiting the results of Lewis' impending MRI Monday morning.
If the four-year veteran did indeed sprain his left MCL, he would likely be out of action for 4-6 weeks, allowing him to return for New England's seemingly inevitable postseason run.
In the meantime, Patriots running back Brandon Bolden will likely fill the void left by Lewis, who currently leads the team in touches. Bolden, a fourth-year back from Ole Miss, plugged in nicely in the latter stages of New England's victory over the Redskins, hauling in an 18-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter from quarterback Tom Brady.
So far in 2015, Lewis has rushed 45 times for 220 yards and two touchdowns while catching 32 passes for 349 yards and two scores, emerging as a tremendous replacement for former Patriots running back Shane Vereen.
As for Vollmer, the 6'8", 320-pounder will need to pass concussion protocol in order to play in New England's bout with the 5-4 New York Giants next Sunday afternoon.
The Patriots offensive line has been ravaged by injuries throughout the first half of the regular season, suiting up just six offensive lineman in the victory over the Redskins. Bryan Stork, who was activated from the short-term injured reserve prior to the game, filled in for Vollmer in the second half, while tight end Michael Williams was forced to spend time helping out on the offensive line, as well.
Despite his short-handed offensive line, Brady has been unfazed. The four-time Super Bowl champion has been playing with an absolute vengeance so far in 2015, adding to his season statistics by completing 26 of his 39 pass attempt for 299 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception against Washington.