The New England Patriots were without four (!) starting offensive linemen in Sunday's Week 5 game against the Houston Texans, and yet the unit stepped up and delivered a solid performance in a 25-22 win.
Left tackle Isaiah Wynn and left guard Michael Onwenu were on the COVID-19 list and didn't play as a result. Right guard Shaq Mason (abdomen) and right tackle Trent Brown (calf) were ruled out because of injuries.
These absences forced head coach Bill Belichick to go with the following offensive line:
- Left tackle: Justin Herron
- Left guard: James Ferentz
- Center: David Andrews
- Right guard: Ted Karras
- Right tackle: Yodny Cajuste
This group allowed only one sack of rookie quarterback Mac Jones. He also got hit only four times -- eight fewer than last week's total versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Patriots' run game got back on track as well with 126 yards (4.2 per carry) and a touchdown.
Jones gave the offensive line some much-deserved praise after the team's victory.
"The offensive line did a great job, and I think it all starts with them," Jones said. "They were doubted all week and all the noise around that. They came out and played really hard, played together, and I think I only got hit one time. Shout-out to those guys, they're a big reason why (we won)."
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick also praised some of the offensive linemen who entered the lineup. He added that the group "battled" and "for the most part Mac had time to throw."
The Patriots could get a few of their missing offensive linemen back for next week's matchup against the Dallas Cowboys at Gillette Stadium. The Cowboys have been one of the league's most impressive teams to begin the season, and likely will come to Foxboro with a 4-1 record.