Patriots standout rookie wide receiver Demario ‘Pop’ Douglas is in concussion protocol after suffering the injury against the Giants over a week and a half ago. He has yet to practice before the team clashes with the Steelers. Douglas missed the team’s game against the Chargers and remained in the protocol, meaning his chances of playing on Thursday are slim. This is in addition to running back Rhamondre Stevenson, who will almost certainly miss this game after suffering a high ankle sprain on Sunday.
On Sunday, Stevenson was injured on a hip-drop tackle by Chargers outside linebacker Tuli Tuipulotu in the first quarter of New England’s 6-0 loss to Los Angeles. Stevenson fumbled and the Chargers recovered the ball. He did not return to the game.
Stevenson is one of the few bright spots of the Patriots’ dreadful offense, rushing for 619 yards on 156 carries (4.0 average) and four touchdowns, which is tied for the team high total. Stevenson also has 38 receptions for 406 yards. Veteran running back Ezekiel Elliott will be the Patriots’ main ball carrier on Thursday night with Stevenson likely out. Elliott has rushed for 429 yards on 112 carries (3.8 average) and three touchdowns this season.
Douglas has racked up 36 catches for 410 yards on the season. If he can not play, the team will turn to other receivers, who are also banged up, and the deep tight end room that they like to include.
The Patriots practice report has many more weapons than Douglas and Stevenson, but they have been their two most productive weapons this season, so this remains significant. Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne recently went on injured reserve, while Kayshon Boutte, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Devante Parker are all dealing with injuries. Backup running back Ezekiel Elliott is on the report with a thigh injury but will play through it.
In the last three games, the 2-10 Patriots have scored 0, 7 and 6 points. They’re the first team since 1938 to lose three straight games where they didn’t allow more than 10 points, per CBS Sports. The Patriots rank dead last in scoring offense, averaging a measly 12.3 points per game.