HOUSTON — The Patriots might have caught at least one break Sunday, as NFL Media is reporting that center Ted Karras suffered what is believed to be only an MCL strain in Sunday’s 28-22 loss to the Texans.
The report said Karras is scheduled to have an MRI Monday and that “at first glance, the hope is that it’s something he can return from.”
Karras has been solid since taking over the starting job from David Andrews, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve late in training camp after dealing with blood clots in his lungs.
A sixth-round pick in 2016, Karras entered Sunday’s game as the only Patriot to play 100 percent of the offensive snaps this season.
James Ferentz played the final 44 snaps in place of Karras, and the 30-year-old with one career start under his belt likely would get the nod against the Chiefs this Sunday if Karras can’t go.
Kicker Forbath waived
The Patriots waived kicker Kai Forbath, ESPN reported Monday night.
Forbath was signed Friday to replace Nick Folk, who was released after undergoing an appendectomy Thursday. Against the Texans, Forbath made a 23-yard field goal but missed one of his two extra-point attempts.
Belichick was non-committal when asked last week if the Patriots planned to bring Folk back when healthy. Folk still had a stall in the locker room at Gillette Stadium Friday afternoon.
“We’ll just manage it week to week here and see how it goes,” Belichick said.
The team’s kicking situation has been in flux since starter Stephen Gostkowski (hip) was placed on season-ending injured reserve in September.
The Patriots also claimed rookie defensive tackle Albert Huggins off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles, according to ESPN. Undrafted out of Clemson, Huggins played four games with the Eagles and recorded three tackles.
It has to be better
Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn’t veer far from his typical post-loss script in a conference call Monday morning, less than 12 hours after his team fell, 28-22, to the Houston Texans.
“We have to do a better job all the way around, coaching, playing, execution,” he said. “We have a lot of tough, competitive players on our team. We competed hard. We just didn’t coach well enough, couldn’t make enough plays.”
His message was consistent: All three phases of the game have to be better. The coaching has to be better. The execution has to be better.
Belichick didn’t have much else to say about New England’s defeat, its second of the year. At 10-2, the Patriots hold the second seed in the AFC, behind only the Baltimore Ravens. With only four regular-season games remaining, does Belichick keep an eye on the evolving playoff picture?
“The only thing we can do about it is the next game,” he said. “Focus on Kansas City. I’m sure we’ll all add it up at the end.”
According to Belichick, the team returned home at around 6 a.m. Monday morning. Players will have both Monday and Tuesday off before resuming practice Wednesday.
As for whether New England’s 94-yard, six-play touchdown drive in the final minutes of the game supplied any confidence in the offense moving forward?
“We’ll have to start all over again against Kansas City,” Belichick said. “We’ll see how that goes. I don’t think this game will have too much to do with that one, but I don’t know.”
The Patriots host the Chiefs Sunday at 4:25 p.m.
Brady has seen it before
offered a straightforward assessment of Sunday night’s loss at Houston during his weekly appearance on WEEI.
As he explained later in the call, the Patriots are familiar with this type of adversity.
“It’s not like we haven’t dealt with losses before,” said Brady.
Sideline footage from Sunday appeared to show Brady showing frustration with wide receiver Phillip Dorsett.
“People look and all right he’s saying, ‘I’m done with him,’ with regard to Dorsett, or ‘He’s upset at [N’Keal] Harry,’” host Greg Hill said to Brady. “Does that end up being something that you guys as a unit kind of understand is going to go on because you’re in the heat of the battle?”
“I would never think that way, [saying] ‘I’m done with him,’” Brady replied. “That’s crazy. I think that a quarterback’s responsibility is to try to lead and motivate, and we’re often the voice of a lot situations, because first we’re calling the plays in the huddle, and B, we have a lot of information from the coordinators and the coaches on what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to motivate people and get people to play their best.”
No hard feelings
Belichick said in his weekly radio interview there’s no reason to read into his brief postgame handshake with Texans coach Bill O’Brien. The brevity of the exchange led some to wonder whether there is lingering hostility between the two organizations over Houston’s pursuit of Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio. “Not on my end,” Belichick said . . . Running back James White’s offensive snap count (68) far exceeded those of teammates Sony Michel (15) and Rex Burkhead (4). White turned in his game of the season with multiple touchdowns (2) and more than 100 yards from scrimmage (98 receiving and 79 rushing). Michel, who finished with 45 rushing yards on 10 carries, was on the field for a season-low 17 percent of the offensive snaps. Seven of his 15 snaps came on New England’s opening drive . . . With an average of 22 million viewers, Sunday’s Patriots-Texans game was the most-watched Week 13 “Sunday Night Football” game in nine years. Providence was the top market, followed by Boston and Houston.