FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots are in the driver’s seat when it comes to securing the No. 1 seed in the AFC and home-field advantage through the playoffs.
But regardless of how that plays out in the final two weeks of the regular season, New England is going to have to pursue its Super Bowl march without veteran defensive lineman Andre Carter.
Carter suffered a leg injury on the final play of the first quarter, reportedly a quad injury that will keep him out the rest of the season. Tuesday, the Patriots placed Carter, who led the team with 10 sacks, on injured reserve.
While the loss of Carter, who earned AFC defensive player of the week status for his 4-sack week against the Jets on Nov. 13, could hamper New England, coach Bill Belichick wasn’t about to throw in the towel. The Pats will just have to carry on without him, he said.
“Whatever 11 guys we put out there will have to get the job done,” Belichick said with a shrug at his news conference Tuesday. “Whatever [offensive packages] they put out there we have to be ready to defend them.”
Mark Anderson, who came into the league in 2006 with the Bears and spent the majority of last year with the Texans, sparkled as Carter’s primary replacement Sunday in New England’s 41-23 victory in Denver. His biggest contribution was a strip-sack of Tim Tebow and a fumble recovery on the play, sparking a Patriots turnover-fueled second-quarter surge.
Belichick was noncommittal when asked if Anderson, a 6-foot-4, 255-pounder, will receive the bulk of the playing time in Carter’s absence or if there would more of a rotation with other defensive linemen in the mix. But he did offer praise for Anderson’s contributions this season.
“He’s had a pretty good year,” said Belichick. “He’s been a pretty consistent player for us all year. He’s a good athlete. He works hard.”