Already lifeless on offense, the New England Patriots will now have yet another obstacle to overcome. This time it's one that cripples their rushing attack.
This morning, NFL Insider Adam Schefter provided an update on running back Rhamondre Stevenson's injury suffered during Sunday's 6-0 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Stevenson leads the team in rushing attempts (156), rushing yards (619) and rushing touchdowns (4), while averaging 3.97 yards per carry. Bill O'Brien has also utilized him in passing situations, as he caught 38 passes for 238 yards. Stevenson is the team's fifth-highest receiver and his four touchdowns account for 25% of New England's 16 touchdowns on the season.
Stevenson suffered the injury on a tackle by Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Tuli Tuipulotu in the first quarter of Sunday's game. Stevenson's injury came on a hip-drop tackle by Tuipulotu, which has drawn criticism because of its prevalence in player injuries.
On the play he was injured, Stevenson fumbled and the ball was recovered by Tuipulotu. The fumble brought an end to the Patriots' most productive offensive drive of the game, as New England had advanced the ball into field goal range at the Los Angeles 32 yard line.
In Stevenson's absence, Ezekiel Elliott received the brunt of the snaps at running back, with veteran Ty Montgomery also chipping in for a few snaps.
JaMycal Hasty is the other remaining running back on New England's active roster. Hasty was claimed off waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars on Nov. 13. He has yet to earn a spot on the active gameday roster and has been limited to 14 snaps this entire season, and only 101 careers in his four-year career.
Kevin Harris is the only halfback on the Patriots practice squad. He was selected in the sixth round of the 2022 Draft by New England. Like Hasty, Harris' NFL experience is minimal, with only 18 career carries.
With Stevenson under contract for the 2024 season, there is little incentive for either the team or Stevenson to rush him back for the last few games on New England's schedule. Look for Elliott to serve as the feature back with Hasty and Montgomery contributing in smaller doses.
Without their most productive offensive player, the Patriots are significant underdogs against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game that's got about as low an over-under (30 points as of writing) as you'll ever see in the modern NFL. This one could be ugly.
In other Patriots news:
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.