NASHVILLE, Tenn. - How tough is Logan Mankins?
According to a report Sunday by ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Patriots' veteran left guard tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in last season's opener against Miami and played the entire season on the damaged joint.
Schefter said Mankins may have been the first NFL player to make it through an entire season with a torn ACL.
Mankins also sprained the left medial collateral ligament in the Week 16 game against the Dolphins and missed the last week of the regular season, but returned for the playoffs.
After undergoing postseason surgery, Mankins was back in the starting lineup for Sunday's season-opening 34-13 win by the Patriots over the Tennessee Titans at LP Field.
Half a year is barely the minimum amount of time needed for such a rehab.
"It was difficult," Mankins said. "We're still only really just a little bit past six months, so it hasn't been that long. I'm still taking it day-by-day and it still improves every day. It's good right now.
"I'm still getting lots of ice and trying to take care of it. Hopefully it will feel good all year," he said.
After a lot of concern was expressed during the preseason, Mankins and his starting linemates (Nate Solder, Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly and Sebastian Vollmer) allowed Tom Brady to be sacked only once Sunday - and that was more of a coverage sack than it was a breakdown of the line.
"The main thing is that you do your job and trust them to do theirs, and everything will be fine," Mankins said. "It's when you start worrying about what the guy next to you is doing is when everything gets messed up."
The Patriots' inactives were RB Shane Vereen, CB Alfonzo Dennard, OG Nick McDonald, TE Daniel Fells, DT Jake Bequette, DE Justin Francis and DL Marcus Forston. The Titans' inactives were QB Rusty Smith, RB Javon Ringer, LB Zac Diles, T Mike Otto, T Byron Stingily, DE Pannel Egboh and DT Sen'Derrick Marks
This was the Patriots' ninth straight opening-day win and the 29th in franchise history Tom Brady is now fifth in NFL history in touchdown passes with 302, passing John Elway (300). Brady has now thrown at least one touchdown pass in 33 straight regular-season games
Wes Welker caught three passes Sunday to tie Troy Brown for the franchise lead in receptions (557). Welker's record-setting catch, if it comes next week, will follow by one day Brown's enshrinement in the Patriots' Hall of Fame Rob Gronkowski has tied Russ Francis for the second-most TD catches by a tight end in team history with his 28th. Ben Coates leads with 50 Stevan Ridley's 125-yard performance was not only his first plus-100 in the NFL, but also a personal best First-round draft picks Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower each made five tackles in their first career starts Tavon Wilson made his first career interception The Patriots had 23 players on the roster that weren't on the opening-day roster in 2011.