The New England Patriots lost the battle and the war on Sunday. That battle, a demoralizing loss to the New York Jets, was difficult enough to endure. It always stings a little extra losing to New York, especially when they're led by Rex Ryan.
The loss will remain with them the entire season. It cannot be erased. But it can be overcome. Brady's bunch can regroup and bounce back with more resolve than ever and turn a lost game into a winning season.
Faulk has been the team's most reliable running back for most of the last decade. He has been the unsung hero of the offense for year's, protecting Brady in the pocket, turning third and longs into first downs using the draw play, and turning swing passes and screens into big gains.
Faulk is undeniably the team's best weapon out of the backfield, and arguably the best in the NFL as a third down back.
The Patriots don't appear to have any suitable in-house options to fill his role, so they might lean more heavily on Fred Taylor to tote the rock conventionally, but he doesn't bring the same dynamic to the offense. That's the problem, there aren't many players that do.
There aren't any free agent running backs who can step in and fill Faulk's role, especially given his intimate familiarity with the Patriots offense.
Don't be surprise if the Pats struggle converting third downs in his absence. It could become a major concern as the season progresses