FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Patriots starting running back Ramondre Stephenson suffered a right ankle injury in the first quarter of Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers that will sideline him for the rest of the game.
The Patriots initially announced that Stevenson’s return was in doubt before declaring him out at the start of the second half. Stevenson needed help getting off the field and heading to the locker room for further testing.
Stevenson was the Patriots’ standout offensive player in the first quarter, totaling 40 yards on nine carries. But it was on his final drive when Chargers linebacker Tuli Tuipulotu came open and tackled Stevenson from behind, with his weight landing on the back of Stevenson’s right leg.
The tackle, often referred to as the hip drop tackle, has been a hot topic around the NFL due to player safety concerns. Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews is among those sidelined with injury as a result.
Stevenson, the Patriots’ leading rusher, fumbled the ball on contact, and Tuipulotu recovered it.
The Patriots were fueling their third straight year up to that point in their first-run scheme with quarterback Billy Zapi making his first start of the season. Stevenson was on pace for his fourth straight game of 100 yards or more, looking to become the first Patriots player to do so since Wes Welker in 2012.
Veteran Ezekiel Elliott took over the role of Stevenson.
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