ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Patriots will be without left guard Logan Mankins against the Bills Sunday — he did not make the trip to Buffalo.
Mankins popped up on the injury report the Thursday before the Ravens game with a hip injury, but he played last Sunday night.
However, Mankins did not practice at all this past week, making it almost a certainty that he wouldn’t play. But if there is a player Bill Belichick would let sit out three days of practice and still play in a game, it would be the tough-as-nails Mankins.
Now it is clear he is too hurt to play, at least this week.
Not having Mankins is a big blow, particularly against the Bills’ defensive line. Tackles Kyle Williams and Marcel Dareus are a lot for interior O-linemen to handle, and now New England will be without its best player on the offensive line.
New England may flip Dan Connolly to left guard and have Donald Thomas step in at right guard. At any rate, it isn’t a great situation.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was on the report for the first time this season Friday, also with a hip injury, did make the trip. He is listed as questionable.
Other Patriots downgraded to out were defensive end Brandon Deaderick (ankle), defensive tackle Justin Francis (ankle), and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring).
It had been 15 straight wins for the Patriots over the Bills, a domination that traced back to the 2003 season and an infamous season-opening 31-0 New England loss.
But then the Bills prevailed, 34-31, last year in Orchard Park, pushing themselves to 3-0 on a last-season Rian Lindell field goal.
It’s not a scenario the Patriots are in a rush to relive, not at 1-2 on the season, not staring down the possibility of their first three-game losing streak since 2002.
“[The Bills] fight from the start to the finish, and that’s exactly what they did last year,” defensive lineman Vince Wilfork said.
The crowd at Ralph Wilson Stadium will be pushing the Bills to continue the Patriots’ difficult start.
“It gets rowdy out there,” said Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo. “So getting off to a good start is going to be huge for us.”
Of course, the Patriots got off to a good start against the Bills in last year’s game, going up, 21-0, in the second quarter.
But that didn’t last, with Buffalo scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter, including those final, crucial 3 points.
Even though the Patriots scored 31 points in last year’s game, even though Wes Welker went off for 16 catches, 217 yards, and two touchdowns, the Bills were able to come through in the end.
And that’s something the Patriots need to learn from.
“They’re a resilient team and they fight for four quarters,” Welker said.
The line on Glenn
Asked about Buffalo’s offensive line, rookie defensive lineman Chandler Jones had this to say: “I’ll give you a little scouting report on the left tackle, Cordy Glenn. He’s a young player, just like I am. He’s a good player. He’s a left tackle. I’m the right defensive end. He’s trying to block me from getting to the quarterback, and I’m trying to get the quarterback.” Hard to argue with that assessment, though Belichick said of the Buffalo offensive line, “Overall they’ve shown good consistency and they’ve been efficient — efficient running the ball, efficient throwing it.”