Patriots' Kevin Faulk Tears ACL: Out For the Season

Sean KeaneCorrespondent ISeptember 21, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19:  Kyle Wilson #20 of the New York Jets attempts to tackle Kevin Faulk #33 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter at the New Meadowlands Stadium on September 19, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

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.

Unfortunately the Patriots lost the war too. Veteran running back Kevin Faulk went down with a torn ACL. His season is over.

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