The Patriots lost Brandon King to a torn quadriceps injury Thursday night and the special teams ace is likely out for the season, a league source said Friday.
King, one of the fastest players on the team, was hurt during a second-quarter punt return and had to be carted off the field.
King was attended to on the field before medical personnel quickly called for the cart. Upward of 20 of King’s teammates ran out to check in on him before he left. The fifth-year veteran waved to the crowd as he was driven to the locker room.
Additionally, tight end Ben Watson is in concussion protocol, the source said. Watson was speared on a nasty late hit by Panthers safety Eric Reid.
The King and Watson cases are the most serious of a bevy of injuries suffered during New England’s 10-3 victory, though none of the other ailments are considered serious and shouldn’t result in significant losses of time.
Two other tight ends, Stephen Anderson and Lance Kendricks, exited in the second half and did not return.
Rookie running back Damien Harris took a knee after a play in the second quarter and retreated to the locker room and didn’t return to action. Fellow rookie Gunner Olszewski left after a 15-yard reception in the fourth quarter.
Kyle Van Noy left briefly with an apparent knee issue after his 9-yard sack of Cam Newton in the first quarter. The linebacker went to the medical tent for a short stint but after doing some sprints and cutting, he returned on the next series.
Van Noy said he felt “fine” after the game.
Special teamer Nate Ebner also visited the medical tent but returned to action.
Reid hit to be reviewed
The hit from Reid that put Watson in the concussion protocol will be reviewed by the NFL, a league spokesman told the Globe Friday.
Watson was the target of a late hit from Reid in the first quarter of Thursday’s preseason game, a 10-3 Patriots win. Brady and Watson connected for 10 yards and a first down, but Reid came in and speared Watson after he was lying on the turf, taking him out of the game. On the field, Reid was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness.
According to The NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the review is for a possible fine, but not a suspension.
The hit drew extra attention because of some social media attention directed at Reid by Watson earlier in the week, though Reid said after the game that conflict had nothing to do with his behavior on the field.
“I didn’t even know he tweeted me,” Reid told NESN reporter Doug Kyed. “That’s not even something you process in a game. I’m not analyzing who has the ball in their hand and what they tweeted at me while I’m playing the game.”
Reid has been critical of the Players Coalition, a social justice initiative made up of NFL players, for being too close to the league. He was quoted in an ESPN story on Aug. 17 criticizing the Coalition, claiming that it exists to allow the NFL community to “get to pretend we care about social justice.”
Watson, a member of the Players Coalition, quote-tweeted an article referencing the quote and tagged Reid in a message telling him he was wrong.
“You know the work many of us including [Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins] have done. No one entity owns this movement. We are all a continuation of the generations who fought before us. We need each other,” Watson wrote.
Reid said he thinks he’ll get fined and reiterated that the hit was unintentional after the game. Watson caught the ball right around the first-down marker, and Reid said he was just trying to force the Patriots to punt. He said that the comments he made to Watson after the hit were just him asking if he was OK and if he could help him up.
Avoiding the challenge
As groan-inducing as liberal throwing of challenge flags feels, one part of preseason games is letting coaches get used to new NFL rules. Bill Belichick has yet to throw a challenge flag under the new pass interference rule, while opposing teams are 0 for 4 against the Patriots doing so.
Belichick said Friday that he and the coaching staff are getting used to the new rule and that they’ll “probably learn a little more each week.”
“As more situations come up and more plays come up, and again, through the practice sessions, we have an opportunity to sometimes discuss a call or a play with the official that made the call,” Belichick said. “It gives you a little better understanding of what they’re looking for and how they’re calling the game, which is helpful to us because we want to coach it properly so that we don’t end up with any coach infractions.”
The Panthers challenged pass interference twice on Thursday. The Lions and the Titans each challenged it once in their preseason games against New England. So far, the rule has come through three weeks of preseason games without major controversy.
It has become a happy rite of fall for Patriots fans in recent seasons. Three times, in fact.
Before the new season begins, the NFL Network will provide two more satisfying remembrances of the previous championship season.
Four days before the Patriots open the season Sept. 8 against the Steelers, the NFL Network will air a pair of documentaries on the 2018 season in which they won their sixth Super Bowl and third in five seasons.
On Wednesday, Sept. 4, at 8 p.m., the network will premiere “Do Your Job Part III: Bill Belichick and the 2018 Patriots. The first “Do Your Job” — featuring a fascinating breakdown of how Malcolm Butler was prepared for his Super Bowl-saving moment — aired before the start of the 2015 season.
Some of the topics covered this year are how the Patriots locked down the Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill in the AFC Championship game, the development of the team’s power-running game in the postseason, and breakdowns of the lone touchdown and a late defensive stand in their 13-3 with over the Rams in the Super Bowl.
“We were adaptable,’’ says offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. “Tom, if he’s supposed to hand it off 37 times and win that way, then he’ll do it. If we need him to throw it 52 times, then he’ll do that too.
“It’s the same way Bill is. Bill doesn’t care if we have to win 43-40 or 13-10. The willingness to be able to do that is really a special trait.”
That will be followed by “America’s Game: 2018 Patriots,’’ part of an annual celebration series about the reigning Super Bowl champion that usually features interviews with three prominent players.
This year, however, four Patriots will be involved: Julian Edelman. Rob Gronkowski, and Devin and Jason McCourty.
Edelman is the first subject to be interviewed three times. John Cena narrates.
One of the cool parts of this doc is the emphasis on the bond between the McCourty brothers. Devin has been with the Patriots since 2010, but Jason joined the team as a free agent last year.
“The third [Super Bowl] is the most special one for me, but it’s only because he’s here,’’ says Devin. “Just imagining what he feels like. I’m sitting here, and I feel great, and this is my third time doing this. And that’s all I could think about was ‘he has this feeling now.’ ”
Brady’s attempt to trademark “Tom Terrific” was rejected by the US Patent and Trademark Office Friday, according to CBS.
Brady filed to trademark “Tom Terrific” with the USPTO earlier this summer, though he told reporters he did it to have control of the nickname so that he could stop people from using it, not because he likes it.
“I was actually trying to do something because I didn’t like the nickname and I wanted to make sure no one used it, because some people wanted to use it,” Brady said. “I was trying to keep people from using it, and then it got spun around to something different than what it is.”
According to the USPTO, Brady’s application was rejected because of the nickname’s existing connection with former MLB pitcher and Hall of Famer Tom Seaver. The office’s letter claims that the mark “points uniquely and unmistakably to Tom Seaver,” not Brady.
A TV hit
The Patriots’ 10-3 victory over the Panthers on Thursday night was the Super Bowl champs’ first home game of the preseason. It drew an impressive audience from those watching at home as well. In a combined total from Ch. 4 and Ch. 9 (in New Hampshire), the game delivered an 18.4 household rating and 35 market share, a 31 percent year-over-year increase from the team’s 2018 preseason Game 3 matchup against the Panthers, a 7:30 pm Friday night kickoff. Featuring Brady’s preseason debut, it was the highest-rated preseason week 3 Patriots game since 2005. It is the third straight week in which the Patriots earned the top spot among all local programming . . . … Second-year tight end Ryan Izzo is known more as a blocker, but Belichick had compliments for his abilities in the passing game Friday. Izzo caught a nice 18-yard pass from Brady early on in the preseason win. “I think he has good instincts as a receiver, yes,” Belichick said.