The Patriots have lost yet another key member of their defense for the season.
Linebacker Jerod Mayo, who left Gillette Stadium with his arm in a sling after Sunday’s win over the Saints, underwent surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle on Tuesday and is now done for the season. The Patriots placed the Pro Bowl linebacker on injured reserve on Wednesday morning, confirming that his season is indeed over.
Mayo, 27, is one of the Patriots’ three defensive captains and was the team’s play caller in the defensive huddle. He played in 75 of a possible 80 career games coming into this season. The two-time Pro Bowler finished fourth in the NFL in tackles in 2012 with 147 and ranked seventh in the league through six games this season with 55. He also had 1 1/2 sacks and one fumble recovery so far in 2013.
The Patriots’ defense is among the best in the NFL through six weeks, allowing just 16.2 points per game — the fourth-lowest total in the NFL this season. Mayo is the second major contributor of the Patriots’ defense to hit IR this season, though. Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork ruptured his Achilles during a Week 4 win in Atlanta.
With Mayo out, the Patriots will have to rely on Brandon Spikes and Dont’a Hightower even more to carry the load on the second level. Rookie linebacker Jamie Collins, who was selected in the second round in April’s draft, will also likely play a bigger role on defense.