Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 9/17/12

Three plays into Sunday's game, Patriots fans witnessed Aaron Hernandez go down with an ankle injury. Then the fans witnessed the Patriots offense go down in flames.

Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels have their work cut out for them. Their versatile tight end who plays inline, the slot, halfback, wide out and punt returner could miss up to six weeks.

Tom Brady was harassed and hurried in a reconfigured offense, but there were many flies in the ointment. Brandon Lloyd had an uneven day. When it counted, he dropped a crucial third down pass. Wes Welker returned to his old slot position (5 catches for 95 yards) and seemed to have forgotten how to work it.

Julian Edelman took over the traditional two spot, but wasn't able to make much noise either. One has to wonder why it took the Patriots three quarters to get into their hurry up offense. When they did, they were able to finally move the ball. After being quiet much of the game, Rob Gronkowski had 4 catches for 42 yards and a touchdown on a fourth quarter drive that pulled the Patriots within two points.

However, after the defense forced a fumble and gave the ball back to the Patriots offense within field goal range for the win, the offense couldn't get any extra yards to make the kick easier.

The point we are trying to make that is once Hernandez left the game, the Patriots lost their game. Running backs Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead did their best to help, but when Gronkowski got called for holding on a touchdown run by Woodhead, it just wasn't the Patriots’ day.

The offensive line is now the story, and could be huge headlines very soon. Dan Connolly was injured again, Sebastian Vollmer still isn't in condition and Marcus Cannon has officially hit the "you got me on what he’s going to do" phase. One thing for sure, making a phone call to Brian Waters doesn't look like a bad idea right about now more than ever.

This is an area that has to get better quick, with the Patriots traveling to Baltimore next Sunday.

With Hernandez on the shelf for the foreseeable future, it's clear some things on the offense need to be worked out. Another call could be placed to Jabar Gaffney to see if his quad injury has healed up. Edelman isn't the answer at the two spot.

We regress to Lloyd, who at time makes spectacular catches only to drop easy crucial passes. With a struggling offensive line, dropped passes are daggers the Patriots can't afford to take.

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