The Tom Brady-less Patriots improved to 2-0 on Sunday with a 31-24 win over the AFC East rival Dolphins, but life may have gotten a bit tougher for a team that will be without its suspended franchise quarterback for two more games. Brady’s backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, suffered a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder and will likely miss the Patriots’ Week 3 matchup against the 2-0 Texans on Thursday, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (via Gregg Rosenthal).
Garoppolo left the Pats’ win in the second quarter after taking a hit from Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso, thereby paving the way for third-string rookie Jacoby Brissett to garner his first NFL experience. Brissett, a third-round pick from North Carolina State, impressed in completing 6 of 9 passes for 92 yards. The Pats will need similar efficiency from him against the Texans, who have held their first two opponents to 26 points. Houston sacked Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith four times on Sunday, and 1.5 came from superstar J.J. Watt.
While Brissett will likely make his first start Thursday, the Patriots hope to have Garoppolo back under center in Week 4 against an 0-2 Buffalo team that has struggled mightily out of the gate. That will be the last contest of Brady’s four-game ban over his role in the Deflategate scandal, which would set him up to return against the lowly Browns on Oct. 9.
As for Garoppolo, injury aside, the Patriots are undoubtedly thrilled with what the 24-year-old has shown in his first real taste of NFL action. Garoppolo helped lead the Pats to an upset win in Arizona last Sunday and ended up completing 42 of 60 passes for 498 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in his first two starts. Whether with New England or someone else, the 2014 second-round pick from Eastern Illinois could end up as a full-time starter down the line.
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