The New England Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons to stay undefeated on Sunday night, but suffered a huge loss in another department. Nose tackle Vince Wilfork went down early with a torn Achilles tendon, according to Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe, and will likely not be seeing the field again anytime soon.
The big man went down awkwardly in the first quarter and did not return. There hasn't been official word on how long Wilfork will be out with the injury, but his season will likely come to a close only four games in to this year's campaign.
Without Wilfork to eat up blockers in the middle, New England will be forced to either go to the waiver wire for answers or look further down the depth chart. Tommy Kelly is going to be the first man up if the Patriots fill the position internally with rookie Joe Vellano behind him.
As Greg Knopping of Pats Pulpit points out, nobody will be replacing the five-time Pro Bowler:
To say this is a major blow to the Patriots defense would be a major understatement. Wilfork is the heart of this unit - a unit that has seen vast improvements to start the season. Without Wilfork clogging the middle, the Patriots become much more vulnerable up the middle.
Wilfork amassed 48 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries last season.