FOXBORO -- When Sebastian Vollmer went down in the second quarter, the signs that he had suffered a serious injury came in waves.
First there was the sound. When Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks -- all 305 pounds of him -- landed on the backs of Vollmer's legs at the end of a Stevan Ridley two-yard run, Vollmer let out primal scream. Then the trainers ran out and quickly applied an air cast to Vollmer's right leg. Then came the cart.
Then, maybe most telling that this was a serious injury, players from both teams came over to Vollmer to shake his hand and show support for the big right tackle before he was driven off the field. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick also came by to have a word with Vollmer.
"It’s a tough loss, to see Sebastian get carted off like that," Belichick said. "He’s been such a great player for us and such a great teammate."
Nine plays later, the Patriots scored their first points of the day when Stephen Gostkowski drilled a 34-yard field goal. But with their All-Pro tackle hurt, the New England offense seemed to be ready to go from bad to worse.
In the first half, the Patriots finished with just five first downs and 59 total yards. Tom Brady had 25 yards passing on 6-of-8 comlpetions, and New England running backs averaged just 2.7 yards per carry.
Patriots backup offensive lineman Marcus Cannon filled in for Vollmer for the remainder of the game, and in the second half, he helped keep Brady protected well enough for the Patriots offense to put up 24 unanswered points.
"Marcus did a great job of stepping in and playing that role," Brady said. "And he’s done that for a few years now, playing that swing tackle. [He was] forced into action and Seabass . . . I’m not sure what it is and hopefully he’s OK. But, it’s tough losing guys on the offensive line. But the guys that were in there stepped in and did a great job."
The Patriots allowed three second-half sacks to the Dolphins. But on New England's first drive of the fourth quarter, Brady was sacked twice and he still was able to get his team into the end zone when Ridley ran in from three yards out to make the score 27-17.
"I thought Marcus went in there and did a good job," Belichick said. "The line we blocked, that’s a good front. We ran the ball competitively. We were able to give Tom [Brady] some time to deliver the ball there in the second half. He made some good throws, we made some good catches and got some good plays from our offense, finishing drives, got the ball in the end zone. There were a lot of positives there."
Patriots guard Logan Mankins was happy to see his young teammate be able to step in and help the Patriots put together productive drives.
"He must have done pretty good today," Mankins said of Cannon. "He's a good kid who works hard and is trying to get better so I think he must have done something right today because we were able to score some points when he was in there."
Vollmer did not return to the game, and the Patriots have not yet released any updates as to his status moving forward for the remainder of the season.