Arian Foster is an excellent football player. He also gets hurt a lot.
Foster missed half of the 2015 season with a torn Achilles tendon.
So it should come as no surprise that the Dolphins’ starting running back is injured. Again.
This time, it’s his groin. Foster left the Dolphins’ 31-24 loss to the Patriots in the first half and did not return. Foster, who had three carries for 9 yards Sunday, spent much of the second half in street clothes.
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And this looks to be more than a one-week issue.
“Right when he did it, [the medical staff] said he is out for the game,” said Dolphins coach Adam Gase. “That’s the extent that I know about it. I don’t have time to get a medical briefing.”
With Foster out, the Dolphins turned to a player Gase didn’t even want on the team charter a week ago. Jay Ajayi, who spent time in Gase’s doghouse because of attitude issues and was left home for the Seattle trip, might be the Dolphins’ new starting running back. Ajayi managed just 14 yards on five carries Sunday, but did catch four passes for 31 more.
Ajayi did lose a fumble on the second half’s first drive, which the Patriots converted into a touchdown. Incidentally, that was the game’s final margin.
“Just got to hold onto the ball,” Ajayi said. “Costly mistake.”
Rookie Kenyan Drake also made an impact, scoring his first career touchdown on a 7-yard run.
DeVante Parker demonstrated Sunday why the Dolphins have such high hopes for him. Parker caught eight passes for 106 yards in his season debut. Parker missed the opener with a hamstring injury, but showed no ill effects against the Patriots.
“For a guy that was playing on one leg... I mean, I will love it when he’s really healthy,” Gase said. “We’ll see what we can do.”
Jarvis Landry, meanwhile, led all receivers with 137 yards on 10 receptions. On the season, Landry has a team-high 17 catches for 196 yards.
And he also might be clairvoyant.
When Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski lined up for 39-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter, everyone assumed he would make it. Everyone but Landry and some of his teammates.
“We kind of figured he'd miss,” Landry said. “What else would you want to believe? Honestly, a minute, down 10, I'm not going to say it's impossible, but it's something where all the cards would have been stacked against us.”
A group of Dolphins players again kneeled during the playing of the national anthem Sunday. But their numbers dwindled by one.
Ahead of the Dolphins’ game against the Patriots, Foster, Michael Thomas and Kenny Stills again used the anthem to protest the treatment of African Americans by police officers.
But Jelani Jenkins, who participated in last Sunday’s demonstration, did not. Jenkins said in recent days that he would “stand united with my teammates and the Miami Dolphins organization during the national anthem.”
The Patriots introduced Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz before the game, and Ortiz was an honorary captain.
Thomas made a point to talk to him at the coin flip.
“It was always good to see somebody who is a legend, a future Hall-of-Famer,” Thomas said. “I was just saying, ‘Congrats on the career,’ and he said ‘Congrats on being a captain.’ That was pretty cool... It was respect.”