Talk about dropping a turd in the punch bowl... I've been riding high on cloud nine since Sunday, but the one thing that was nagging at me was the uncertain status of Jerod Mayo. Talib's hip flexor didn't appear to be a major injury that would put him out for weeks. Danny Amendola's brain will hopefully recover in time from being smashed against the side of his skull. Same goes for Connolly. But Mayo left the stadium with his arm in a sling...
The injury itself didn't look so bad. I actually thought he might be able to come back in the game. Turns out, we'll be lucky if he can come back at all this season. Mayo underwent surgery for a torn pectoral muscle and the best-case scenario is that he's back practicing in six weeks and playing in eight. That's the roses and sunshine version, the non-Rob Gronkowski version. That would have him back on the field in Week 15, again, if everything went absolutely perfectly and the tear wasn't extreme. Ray Lewis did come back from a similar injury last year, so it's not impossible. Let's hope Jerod Mayo has a secret stock of deer antler spray in his medicine cabinet.
In terms of how this affects the Patriots, we're back to "Next Man Up", yet again. Any way you shake it, though, this is an absolute crushing blow to a defense that had been playing out of it's mind as of late. Can they possibly keep it up without both Vince and Mayo? I almost wonder if this loss is bigger than the absence of Wilfork, given that Mayo had the helmet with the green dot and was essentially the quarterback of the defense. The Pats are pretty stacked and linebacker, so I'm less concerned from a physical standpoint than I was with Vince's injury, but from a leadership standpoint, there's a giant void to fill here.
The Patriots are the ultimate team, so if anyone can handle the loss of Wilfork and Mayo, it's the Patriots. Realistically, though, at some point, all these injuries will catch up with the team if they are season-ending. I can live knowing that Gronk, Talib, Amendola, Vereen, Connolly, and Kelly will all likely be back at some point. I'm just hoping that we can add Mayo to that list for the playoffs and that he won't end up on IR with Big Vince. If there's any hope of a return, Belichick is just going to have to swallow the lost roster spot for the next eight to ten weeks. Having Mayo back on the field is going to be huge if the Patriots want to shake up the AFC.