Patriots' Stud Safety Exits With Ankle Injury

The New England Patriots are in the throes of a fascinating Monday Night Football showdown with the Chicago Bears, and they'll face yet another complication in the second half. Safety Kyle Dugger has exited with an ankle injury and is questionable to return.

Dugger was shaken up on the Bears' first offensive drive of the third quarter. He made a quick stop at the team's blue medical tent before heading to the locker room.

The Patriots defense has struggled to slow a surprisingly feisty Bears team, allowing 26 points and 335 total yards through three quarters. Dugger's absence could make it difficult to mount a comeback; The Bears lead the Patriots 26-14 entering the fourth.

Dugger is a crucial starter for the Patriots and the defining piece of their three safety look as a defensive back who can play in the box and affect the run game. He has allowed a mere 41.4 passer rating on throws in his direction and totalled 23 tackles through his five starts this season

Dugger joined the Patriots as a surprising second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. An explosive, oversized safety out of tiny Lenoir-Rhyne, Dugger was a man amongst boys in Division II. He has rewarded the Patriots' investment with five interceptions, seven passes broken up, and 179 tackles over 34 appearances.