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Rookie Patriots QB Jacoby Brissett was forced into action against Miami on Sunday after Jimmy Garoppolo was injured. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Rookie Patriots QB Jacoby Brissett was forced into action against Miami on Sunday after Jimmy Garoppolo was injured. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

New England Patriots facing questions at quarterback Add to ...

The clicking sound heard throughout the northeastern United States on Sunday was fans of the New England Patriots frantically searching the internet for anything they could find on Jacoby Brissett, a rookie quarterback unexpectedly forced into action after a shoulder injury knocked Jimmy Garoppolo out of the game.

The injury, which came in the second quarter of an eventual 31-24 win for the Patriots over the Miami Dolphins, added yet another wrinkle in the complicated quarterback situation for the team that has to play without the suspended Tom Brady for the first four games of the season. The Patriots are 2-0 in Brady’s absence, but do not yet know who the team’s quarterback will be next week, which has to be unsettling for a franchise that has had remarkable stability at the position in the Brady era.

Coach Bill Belichick was predictably coy at a news conference after the game, choosing not to weigh in on Garoppolo’s health and not saying much about Brissett’s performance.

“He’s been working for this for a long time,” Belichick said when asked about Brissett. “He did a good job in a pressure situation.”

Before the hit by the Dolphins’ Kiko Alonso that crushed him into the turf, Garoppolo was shredding the Miami defence. He had completed 18 of 27 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns, and even completed the pass that he had just released when Alonso hit him. He knelt on the turf trying to collect himself after the play but ultimately decided the pain was too much and jogged into the locker room.

Forced into action with New England up 21-0, Brissett, the team’s rookie third-string quarterback, managed a more conservative offence the rest of the way, focusing mostly on the run. LeGarrette Blount did his best to keep things going, rumbling for a total of 123 rushing yards, but the Dolphins closed the gap a great deal, outscoring the Patriots 24-10 after the injury. With seconds remaining, the Dolphins had nearly completed a comeback when Ryan Tannehill was intercepted in the end zone by Duron Harmon, saving the game for the Patriots.

The emergence of Garoppolo had eased the fears of Patriots fans looking at not having Brady for a quarter of the season. No announcement has been made as to the severity of the injury, but the prospect of going into Weeks 3 and 4 with Brissett, a third-round pick out of North Carolina State, at quarterback has to be somewhat alarming. He completed 6 of 9 passes for 92 yards, and had one nice bootleg run for 10 yards, but the high-powered New England offence was limited to one touchdown and one field goal to go with two punts under his direction.

The Patriots will have to make decisions quickly because of a short week caused by Thursday’s scheduled matchup against the Houston Texans. When asked how the team would proceed with uncertainty in the quarterback situation, Belichick was elusive, saying only that “we’ll do whatever we think is best for the team.”

With that in mind, the Patriots may be forced to consider signing a veteran backup even if Garoppolo can recover in time to play. The team’s lack of depth at the position led to Julian Edelman, a wide receiver, serving as the backup to Brissett in the second half. A quarterback in college at Kent State, Edelman has only attempted one pass as a professional which went for a 51-yard touchdown in the playoffs two years ago.

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