The New England Patriots played without their star cornerback on Sunday - not for the first time, either. stephon gilmore missed his third consecutive game with a concussion, displaying the lingering and unpredictable effects of a head injury. His short tenure with the team has been infested by roadblocks and obstacles. It could be a long time before he overcomes this one, although he seemed to be closer to playing this week than he had been in the previous couple of weeks.

Patriots injury report

Gilmore was the big name on the Patriots injury report on Sunday, listed as inactive for the third straight time due to his ongoing battle with concussion symptoms.

Linebacker Dont'a Hightower was also listed as inactive. He's expected to miss the rest of the season, but hasn't been placed on injured reserve yet in anticipation of the return of Shea McClellin from that same designation.

Offensive linemen Cameron Fleming and Cole Croston, defensive end Geneo Grissom, defensive tackle Malcom Brown, and Gilmore's fellow cornerback Eric Rowe were also inactive. Meanwhile, the Patriots activated several players they listed as being questionable for Sunday's game, including linebacker Elandon Roberts, receiver Danny Amendola, defensive linemen Cassius Marsh and Lawrence Guy, and tackle Marcus Cannon.

Gilmore's murky season

During the offseason, Gilmore signed a five-year, $65 million contract to come over from the rival Buffalo Bills.

Since then, however, he has been beaten badly in coverage several times, causing Patriots fans to question whether the rare big-ticket signing from the team was the right move. Then, he suffered a concussion a few weeks ago; Johnson Bademosi has done a solid job filling in for Gilmore for the past three weeks.

Gilmore will have some time to make his way through the concussion protocol before the team's next game.

They have a bye following Sunday's contest, so they don't suit up again until they face the Denver Broncos on the road on November 12th, which may be flexed to be a Sunday night game. Until then, the Patriots will continue to get burned on the defensive end and hope that the the offense can carry them back to the Super Bowl.

So far, Gilmore's struggles with health and play have not doomed the team from their ultimate goal of repeating as champions of the NFL. It's a good thing the Patriots aren't meeting much resistance in the AFC East.