Edelman was flagged for pass interference early in the third quarter when he trucked Bills safety Jordan Poyer on a completion to Patriots tight end Ben Watson.
It might have been unintentional, and that’s how Edelman tried to play it off.
Not sure the OPI was intentional on Edelman. Looks like maybe he's just protecting himself. But I also get why it has to be called. Stalls the drive but Folk buries a long FG and #Patriots retake the lead, 13-10. pic.twitter.com/blbWEZFlDy
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) December 21, 2019
“Those are tough plays,” Edelman said. “It’s a bang-bang play. It’s a slant-flat. They were in man coverage, and you’re trying to set up your guy, and all of a sudden you come off and you break off of it and you’ve got that guy right up in your face. And you try to protect yourself, and then I saw three flags. Those are tough plays.”
Edelman stayed down motionless on the field until he saw a flag fall in front of his helmet.
“I was trying to sell it,” Edelman said. “Maybe they didn’t see it. Then three flags were literally in my face. That sell didn’t work and it got me taken out for a quarter.”
Edelman initially stayed in the game, but after the Patriots kicked a 51-yard field goal, the wide receiver went into New England’s blue pop-up medical tent. Then he went to the locker room, and it was announced he was being evaluated for a head injury.
So, did Edelman’s sell job almost land him in concussion protocol?
“I’m not getting into it, but yeah,” Edelman said.
Edelman returned to action early in the fourth quarter and immediately caught a 30-yard pass from quarterback Tom Brady. After running back Rex Burkhead scored a rushing touchdown, Edelman scored a two-point conversion attempt on another throw from Brady.
“Old Lazarus (of Bethany), you mean?” wide receiver Matthew Slater said after the game. “My dad texted me after the game and said, “Tell Lazarus, good job.” Old Lazarus came back from the dead. For those of you who don’t know the story of Lazarus, but he came back. It’s kind of funny the way he laid out there for dead, but I’m glad he’s OK. And he came back and gave us a big boost with his play immediately coming into the game, making a big catch. His toughness, his energy, I’m glad he’s OK like I said. Huge impact from him.”
Edelman, who came into the game with knee and shoulder injuries, doesn’t like that “toughness” word anymore. A lot has been written about Edelman’s toughness after the receiver has played all 15 games, many of which were played through injuries.
“I’m honestly sick of it,” Edelman said. “Because guys come up to me, and they’re like, ‘ahh, dude, reporters are asking me about your toughness, yada yada.’ Please, just stop asking me.”
It would benefit Edelman to rest before the playoffs, but next week’s game against the Miami Dolphins is a pseudo-playoff game. If the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Chicago Bears on Sunday, then a Patriots win in Week 17 would clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs for New England.
And with the way the Patriots’ offense has played this season, they might need Edelman to beat any team.