The Patriots pulled off the win without Tom Brady or Jimmy Garoppolo on Sunday afternoon versus Miami. Garoppolo had an incredible game going, so it was almost inevitable that something terrible would happen. Here’s how it went down:
Jimmy Garoppolo made his first NFL start at home at Gillette Stadium, against AFC East rival Miami Dolphins. After pulling off that improbable win in Arizona just a week before, fans had high hopes for Garoppolo, putting pressure on him to perform well. All of that pressure didn’t seem to affect the Patriots’ starting QB one bit. Garoppolo began the game as well as any quarterback could. Jimmy G completed his first eight passes in a row, looking incredibly sharp. On each of his first three drives, the offense scored three touchdowns - two to Danny Amendola and one to Martellus Bennett - getting a quick and early 21-0 lead.
Garoppolo, once again, looked like the leader. Everyone was confident in him while he was confident in everyone else. He was using his speed, legs and smarts to his ability, just killing Miami’s defense. As a Patriots fan, you couldn’t have been much happier. Everything was falling right into place. Jimmy went 18-27 with 234 yards and three TDs. The Football Gods were on our side.
With around five minutes left in the second half, all of that happiness was no longer. Garoppolo and his offense were facing a third down. No biggie, right? Jimmy was chased out of the pocket by a few of Miami’s front seven, and Kiko Alonso was going hard at Jimmy. Garoppolo completed a short pass to receiver Malcolm Mitchell, but Kiko Alonso slammed into Garoppolo’s body from the left side, taking them both hardly to the ground. Alonso hit into Garoppolo’s left shoulder, but it was his right shoulder that took the beating into Gillette’s turf. At first, Garoppolo was just shaken up. He stood up for a second, but then took a knee as the trainers rushed to his side. The medical staff looked at his shoulder for a minute or two before helping him up and taking him to the locker room.
Garoppolo was then sent to the hospital to be further evaluated. About forty-five minutes later, at the start of the second half, the x-rays came back negative; no broken bones, and the collar bone was intact. Patriots Nation could finally exhale.
Unfortunately, it seemed as if Garoppolo’s injury took the rest of the team with it. The team looked sluggish, the defense brought Miami back into the game, the offense just didn’t look the same. Gillette Stadium was noticeably quieter until the clock ran out at the end of the fourth quarter. Thankfully, the Patriots ended up winning 31-24, but after Miami went on a 24-0 run. Garoppolo singlehandedly created the team’s momentum, so his injury just killed the rest of the team. You can only hope that rookie Jacoby Brissett can continue playing as well as he has and at least give his guys that same vibe that Garoppolo did before his injury.
Multiple sources have said that Garoppolo will not play Thursday night versus Houston, as he is still undergoing tests at the hospital.
Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) tweeted: “The early indication on Garoppolo’s injury is it will take 6 weeks to heal, per source, But still undergoing full battery of tests.” Doesn’t sound like we see Jimmy again any time soon, right?
Not so fast. CSNNE’s Tom E Curran (@tomecurran) says: “...according to a source with knowledge of the injury, Garoppolo isn't necessary lost for the balance of Tom Brady's four-game suspension. Depending on how inflamed the area is and Garoppolo's level of pain tolerance, he may be able to get back in the lineup. AC joint injuries, it was pointed out, can be injected with painkillers and managed if a player gets close enough to a tolerable level of pain. Ben Roethlisberger last season had his AC joint blown out by Cincinnati's Vontaze Burfict. He came back the next week against Denver and was 24-for-37 for 339 yards. Garoppolo, however, would be operating on a short turnaround time, which erases the chance of him being able to get full mobility. The Patriots play the Bills at Foxboro in two weeks and Garoppolo could have a shot at that. It's not a likelihood and everything will depend on how it responds but the source said he can't be ruled out yet in the hours after the injury.”
All we can do is wait and see with Garoppolo right now. I suspect that New England will sign a free agent QB within the next 24 hours or so, to the likes of Matt Flynn or TJ Yates. It’s still up in the air whether or not we will see Jimmy G again. Until then, fans will have to keep refreshing their Twitter feeds, and Garoppolo will continue to ice up.