Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn’t have any further updates on the severity of injuries sustained by Rex Burkhead and Isaiah Wynn in the team’s loss to the Texans on Sunday.
Burkhead suffered a serious and potentially season-ending knee injury in the third quarter, and the running back was carted off the field. Belichick said Burkhead didn’t travel home with the team from Houston, but he’ll be back soon to undergo tests to further evaluate him.
Wynn left in the fourth quarter on Sunday with a right leg injury. Belichick said the left tackle was going to have tests on Monday afternoon.
Burkhead’s injury, though, seems far more serious. Echoing sentiments from teammates after Sunday’s loss, Belichick had high praise for the running back, who was on pace for a career year before the injury.
“I always had a high appreciation and respect for Rex,” Belichick said. “Rex is a great teammate, works hard, does whatever he’s asked to do, he contributes in a lot of different areas. He’s always prepared, ready to go to do his best and he’s been productive for us in everything we’ve asked him to do on all four downs.”
In his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Monday morning, Cam Newton, who described Burkhead’s loss as “devastating” on Sunday, reiterated his disappointment.
“I just know how hard he works and I know he’s such a great guy, above all, and a lot of times as fans or people who follow the game from a far, you don’t necessarily get the in-depth relationships, what the person outside of what he may post on Instagram or what he may post on social media or what you may see on TV,” Newton said. “But Rex is one of the guys that you question or scratch your head like, how does something like this happen to him?
“He brings his lunch pail to work every single day, extremely low maintenance and all he wants to do is just win. When you have teammates like that on your team, it’s just devastating, just to see something like that happen to him.”
The New England Patriots are 2-4 and in danger of falling too far back to make a serious run at an AFC playoff spot. Making matters worse, they will not have the best player on their defense when they take on the division rival Buffalo Bills on Sunday. The Patriots downgraded star cornerback Stephon Gilmore to out after he did not travel with the team for the game. Gilmore, who has been the subject of trade rumors in recent weeks as the Patriots have struggled to put together victories, popped up on the injury report with a knee issue late in the week. Apparently, it’s serious enough that it will keep him off the field entirely. Fellow defensive back Kyle Dugger was ruled out of the Buffalo game as well.
Gilmore, the 2019 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year, has been a first team All-Pro in each of the past two seasons. He seems to have taken a slight step backward this season, even if only because it would be extraordinarily difficult for anyone to match his level of play between 2018 and 2019. Gilmore spent the first five years of his career in Buffalo before signing the largest free-agent contract in Patriots history prior to the 2017 season.
The Patriots defense as a whole has not been as solid this season as it was a year ago, with free-agent losses and opt-outs sapping some of their talent base. Combined with the offensive issues caused by a lack of high-level weaponry and Cam Newton’s backslide since his COVID-19 diagnosis and recovery, the Patriots have lost three consecutive games. They have division games against the Bills and Jets on tap before a Week 10 showdown with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, who torched the vaunted Pats defense last year.
Brian Ortega dominates Korean Zombie at UFC Fight Island 6 to land title shot
In the fourth of its five-event stint on Fight Island, the UFC saw Brian Ortega dominate Korean Zombie (Chan Sung Jung) to earn a featherweight title shot.
Jessica Andrade may very well have punched her own ticket to a championship challenge in the flyweight division with her win over Katlyn Chookagian in the co-main event.
Brian Ortega puts on striking display to best Korean Zombie
After a short feeling out process, it was clear that Ortega was looking to employ his improved striking against Jung. He frequently landed leg kicks from the opening bell, as Jung was more intent on hanging back, looking for powerful counter shots.
Ortega stepped it up in the latter half of the first round, cracking Jung with hard punches and even sending him to the canvas at one point. Jung started swinging harder, but got caught with a head kick.
Round one was definitely a strong opener for Ortega.
Jung started quickly in the second frame, landing lots of punch combinations. The damage he was stealthily doing to Ortega’s lead leg with low kicks was also beginning to show.
But just as the momentum seemed to be in Jung’s favor, Ortega blasted him with a spinning elbow. Ortega stormed him, landing several more punches and put him on the canvas but couldn’t find the finish before the second round horn, although he stole the round.
Going into the third frame likely having won the first two, Ortega stayed at distance throughout the round, adding to his advantage. He remained out of Jung’s power range, slowly chipping away with an ever-more-effective jab and kicks that were keeping Jung from finding a rhythm.
Knowing he had to be down on the scorecards, Jung started pressing more in the fourth round. Ortega, however, didn’t let himself get overwhelmed, remained calm, and fended off the better part of Jung’s attacks.
Avoiding most of Jung’s punches, Ortega caught a kick and landed a punch as he drove Jung across the cage and to the canvas. He opened a cut over Jung’s left eye, though it wasn’t clear if it was the punch or an accidental clash of heads, but Jung quickly got up, eating another shot as he did.
Ortega continued to look sharp, stinging Jung with his jab. Jung tried to find a way to land, but Ortega was so fluid at this point, Jung couldn’t find any openings.
Jung needed to overwhelm Ortega in the final frame, but he couldn’t. Ortega simply kept beating him to the punch and giving him different looks that kept Jung off kilter. Any time Jung moved forward to attack, Ortega nullified him with stinging punches, his jab in particular eating him alive.
Not one to give up, Jung kept moving forward, kept trying to find a home for that powerful blow that would steal the fight, but it wasn’t to be. Ortega was too elusive, his
The Denver Broncos will likely have quarterback Drew Lock back in action when they visit the New England Patriots on Sunday, but thanks to the latest in a growing list of COVID-19 cases around the NFL, they will be down at least one assistant coach. A day before the team’s Week 6 showdown with the Pats, which is already delayed a week because of separate COVID issues, the Broncos announced that running backs coach Curtis Modkins has contracted COVID-19 and will not travel with the club for the game.
“Curtis is currently at home in self-isolation and experiencing no symptoms,” the Broncos said in a statement, adding that they learned of Modkins’ positive COVID-19 test early Saturday morning. “We have evaluated close contacts, administered necessary point-of-care testing (no positive COVID-19 results) and implemented additional health and safety measures at UCHealth Training Center.”
NFL Network’s James Palmer reports that Modkins recently learned of a family member who tested positive and immediately notified the Broncos, taking “extremely proactive” measures to follow NFL-NFLPA protocols for COVID cases and isolate from the rest of the team.
The status of Modkins, who oversees a running back unit that’ll be without starter Melvin Gordon (illness) against New England, isn’t expected to affect the Broncos-Patriots game on Sunday. New England had its own COVID-19 issue on Friday, cancelling practice because of an additional positive test, but all indications are that the NFL intends for the game to proceed as (re)scheduled.