Falcons fans booed heavily when Patriots’ defensive tackle Vince Wilfork fell to the turf in the first quarter, probably thinking he was faking an injury to slow down their offense.
Wilfork was carted off the field and taken to the team’s locker room. On Monday Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick confirmed that Wilfork suffered a torn right Achilles and will likely miss the rest of the season.
Nobody in the NFL has been more consistent and more of a roadblock as an interior defensive lineman than Wilfork has been for the past ten seasons. He has been the anchor of a changing Patriots’ defense and has remained the sole consistent piece.
Wilfork’s resume consists of five Pro Bowl selections, an impressive 469 tackles for a nose tackle and 16 quarterback sacks, as well as being the anchor on defense for the Patriots’ Super Bowl XXXIX victory. He is always calling for a double team from his opponents’ offensive line and stuffs runners who try coming up the middle.
His on the field leadership is acknowledged by all of his teammates and coaches alike, serving as a great example for younger players and playing with the intensity you would like to see from a savvy veteran.
The Patriots have proven to be tough on defense this season, ranking sixth in the league in scoring defense (14.3 ppg). They have one of the top young linebacking groups in all of football and their secondary has been one of the best in football this season.
We’ll see if the Patriots can adjust, but I think the loss of Wilfork will make them less effective at stopping the running game, leading to more mistakes from their secondary. Let’s hope the Pats have an answer.