Jan 19, 2014 at 8pm UK at ​Sports Authority Field
New England Patriots
Denver Broncos
Tamme (7:50)
Thomas (7:52)
Edelman (9:26), Brady (3:07)

Steve Gregory: 'Aqib Talib injury had big impact on game'

Steve Gregory #28 of the New England Patriots react after a play against the Indianapolis Colts during the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 11, 2014
© Getty Images
New England Patriots safety Steve Gregory admits that Aqib Talib's injury during the AFC championship game against the Denver Broncos had a big impact on the match.

New England Patriots safety Steve Gregory has admitted that the injury suffered by Aqib Talib during Sunday's AFC championship game against the Denver Broncos had a big impact on the match.

Talib was forced off after a tangle with Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, a play which long-serving Patriots coach Bill Belichick described as one of the worst he had ever seen.

Without Talib, the Patriots failed to adequately cover Demaryius Thomas for the rest of the match as the Broncos sealed a 26-16 victory, and Gregory was in no doubt that his side were significantly weakened by Talib's absence.

"Definitely, big time. Aqib's a heck of a football player for us. He matches up against what we consider the top receiver week in and week out," Gregory told reporters.

"He's a leader, he's a competitive guy, a guy that's going to go out and give you everything he's got, so you never want to lose a guy like that. But at the same time, other guys have to step up like we've done all year.

"By no means is it easy to replace a guy like Aqib so, yeah, it was tough to see him go down."

The incident marked the second consecutive year that Talib had been injured in the AFC championship game, having also gone down in last season's match against the Baltimore Ravens.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the sidelines during the game against Tampa Bay Buccaneers on August 16, 2013
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