The New England Patriots have shown signs of life over the past two weeks. After going right down to the wire against the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field in Week 4, losing on a game-winning field goal at the buzzer, the team bounced back with a decisive victory in Week 5.
The Patriots welcomed the high-flying Detroit Lions to town and shut them out, 29-0. It was an impressive performance as the Lions entered the game with the highest-scoring offense in the NFL but were unable to muster anything against New England.
It was a solid all-around performance given the circumstances surrounding the Patriots, as they were starting rookie Bailey Zappe at quarterback. The other units picked up the slack, as shutting out Detroit was impressive and Nick Folk went 5-for-5 on field goal attempts.
While there were certainly some good feelings around the facility, it wasn’t all positive for the Patriots. Running back Damien Harris injured his hamstring against the Lions and according to NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero, he could miss multiple weeks because of the injury. He will undergo more tests, but the initial diagnosis right now is that he will miss some time.
That is a tough blow as Harris has been playing well. He has handled 57 carries and turned them into 257 yards and three touchdowns. He also had eight receptions for 30 yards.
Luckily for New England, they have a more than capable back in Rhamondre Stevenson that can step into the starting lineup. He had a great game against the lowly Lions’ run defense, rushing for 161 yards on 25 carries.
Thus far this season, Stevenson has been used mostly as the team’s pass-catching back as he has 13 receptions for 71 yards, but is more than capable of handling early down work as well. His role on the ground has been expanding in recent weeks and he will take over as their every down back for the next few weeks.
Rookie Pierre Strong out of South Dakota State is the only other running back on the roster and will see some chances as well for as long as Harris is sidelined behind Stevenson.