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It was a tough day for NFL running backs to stay on the field.The New England Patriots lost Sony Michel to a knee injury Trent Brown Color Rush Jersey , while Bills back LeSean McCoy suffered a head injury. Bilal Powell sustained a neck injury in the second quarter of the Jets‘ loss to the Vikings on Sunday.Michel had to be helped off the field after he got twisted around by Bilal Nichols as he was tackled on the first play of the second quarter. Michel lost a fumble on the play and had to be helped to the sideline. In the previous three games, Michel rushed for 316 yards and four touchdowns.McCoy got injured on the Bills’ second offensive play when he hurt his head while going out of bounds. He walked slowly across the field and into the injury tent, where he was checked by team doctors. After a few minutes, McCoy came out of the tent and walked across the field with one arm around a trainer or team doctor. Coach Sean McDermott said it was unclear whether McCoy would be cleared through the concussion protocol in time for next Monday’s game against New England.He was replaced in the lineup by veteran Chris Ivory, who also briefly left in the third quarter with what appeared to be a lower left leg or foot injury. He did return.It wasn’t just the running backs who got hurt. Miami lost receiver Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills. Wilson left with a leg injury in the second quarter after his foot appeared to buckle when he was tackled on a 25-yard reception. Stills limped to the locker room with a minute left in the loss to the Lions.Earlier in the game, he accidently hurt a stadium security guard’s shoulder when he blindsided her on a scoring play . Stills’ momentum carried him into the guard after he caught a 5-yard pass in the corner of the end zone, and the woman tumbled to the ground. A dazed Stills checked on her and gave her the ball as a souvenir. The Dolphins said the guard was taken to the hospital as a precaution with a sore shoulder.Miami coach Adam Gase said he didn’t consider the positioning of the guard near the end zone something that needed to be addressed.“Every stadium is like that where that can happen,” the coach said.In other injury news:—Jets safety Doug Middleton Duron Harmon Jersey , starting in place of the injured Marcus Maye, also left in the second quarter with a shoulder injury. It was uncertain how Middleton was injured. He was in on punt coverage and then took the field on defense, but took a knee to signal he was hurt and headed straight to the locker room with Jets medical staff. Jets coach Todd Bowles said both Middleton and Powell would have tests to determine the severity of their injuries.—Minnesota left guard Tom Compton departed in the first quarter with a knee injury.—Panthers DE Mario Addison twice left the game at Philadelphia with a back injury and didn’t return after going out in the fourth quarter.—Buccaneers LB Kwon Alexander was lost to a knee injury late in the second quarter. Backup LB Jack Cichy left in the third quarter and did not return.—Colts defensive tackle Jihad Ward was carted off the field with an injured right ankle in the first quarter and TE Eric Swoope left with a knee injury. Neither returned.—49ers safety Adrian Colbert was taken off on a cart after injuring his right leg in the third quarter. Linebacker Reuben Foster left in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury.—Houston wide receiver Keke Coutee left in the second quarter with a hamstring injury and was ruled out at halftime. —Jacksonville cornerback Tyler Patmon was ruled out in the second quarter of the same game because of a strained neck. In late September and with the New England Patriots coming off their second straight loss to drop to 1-2, we wrote an article addressing the team’s slow starts — and comparing them to the NFL’s most prolific offense, the Kansas City Chiefs’. The story titled The Patriots are the anti-Chiefs noted that finding themselves in a hole early on was a recurring theme during New England’s road losses against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Detroit Lions.The Chiefs, meanwhile, were the best first quarter team in the league at that point — something they still are four months later. Heading into this week, Kansas City scores an average of 9.5 points in the first period while surrendering just 3.3. The point differential of 6.2 is clearly the highest in the league and head and shoulders above the second ranked Dallas Cowboys and their +3.3 mark.The Chiefs’ quick starts continued into the playoffs Andre Tippett Color Rush Jersey , on both sides of the ball. In the divisional round against the Indianapolis Colts, the team jumped to a 17-0 lead before the opponent had even gained a first down. Safe to say that getting into the games quickly is an integral recipe for head coach Andy Reid’s formula to success this season — and something that the Patriots need to withstand on Sunday as best they can.“You always want to start fast. You always want to play from ahead. You always want to get off to a good start,” Bill Belichick said during his press conference earlier today. “But I think these are 60 minute games and this time of year you’re going to have to battle all the way through, but it’s always good to try to get off to a good start. There is, I think, historically no better fast starting team than the Chiefs.”Limiting the team early in Sunday’s game will not be an easy task, even though New England looked tremendous to start its divisional round game: the Patriots found the end zone on four consecutive drives against one of the NFL’s better defenses, all while the Los Angeles Chargers were able to score a grand total of seven first half points. Before Los Angeles added points to the scoreboard again , the club was already down 38-7.For the Patriots, this was the best start into a game all year and a clear improvement when compared to their inconsistencies in this particular area earlier during the year. Overall, New England ranks just eighth in the league in first quarter scoring differential at +0.9. Their performance against L.A. is therefore one the team needs to find a way to replicate on Sunday. After all, a quick start in all three phases will be imperative on the road against Kansas City — for multiple reasons.The first and most obvious is the crowd. Arrowhead Stadium is as loud a venue as there is in the NFL, and might be even more so in the first conference title game the club has reached since 1993. Taking the crowd aspect out of the game early is something that would make New England’s job easier — even though Belichick recently brushed off the potential impact noise might have on a game and the team’s performance particularly on offense.That being said, just think back to the AFC title game three years ago: playing at Denver’s Mile High Stadium, the Patriots needed to go to a silent snap count after failing to get off to a positive start. While center David Andrews will likely not tip off the snap in a way Bryan Stork did against the Broncos, giving the crowd a reason to stay fully invested in the game from start to finish can ultimately be a disadvantage for a team. It certainly was in January 2016.Another reason why it is important to get off to a quick start — which against the Chiefs pretty much constitutes keeping it a one-score game — is that it forces Kansas City to play a game it is comparatively unfamiliar with: the Chiefs function best when they play from ahead as they can pin their ears back and go after the quarterback more aggressively on defense John Hannah Color Rush Jersey , all while controlling the ball, clock and rhythm on offense.“Coach Reid’s always done a great job of [starting quickly] and they’ve outscored their opponents by I think it’s about 100 points or so this year. That’s a big advantage to play the last three quarters with. Certainly we don’t want to be in that position, nor do they I’m sure,” said Belichick about Kansas City’s fast starts — and his numbers were only off by 5 points: the Chiefs outscored their opponents by a total of 105 points in first quarters this season.The total number of points only tells one part of the story, though. In its 17 games this season, Kansas City also took a multi-score lead into the second quarter on six occasions — New England, for comparison, did the same just once (last Sunday) — and was down after 15 minutes just four times. The Chiefs are used to playing from ahead Tedy Bruschi Jersey , and they do a marvelous job at it whenever they get the opportunity.New England can therefore not afford to play into Kansas City’s hands this week, even though Belichick also noted that a game is not decided in the first 15 minutes. “Everybody’s going to compete for 60 minutes or longer, however long it takes this weekend and that’s what we have to be ready for,” the Patriots’ coach said. “But yeah, of course we want to do well early and we want to do well in the fourth quarter too.”

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