Another NFL game is taking place later than expected due to COVID-19. The New England Patriots and Denver Broncos were set to face off on Sunday, but the game moved to Monday. However, the Patriots had a fourth member of the team test positive on Sunday morning, which pushed the game to Week 6.
When the positive test surfaced, the Patriots shut down the team facility and began conducting further testing. Only one player tested positive, increasing the number of cases to four over the past eight days. Meanwhile, the league confirmed the move in a statement and clarified that the Broncos and Patriots would have a bye week. They will face off in Week 6 while the Broncos' previously-scheduled game against the Miami Dolphins will move to a yet-to-be-determined date.
"The Denver Broncos at New England Patriots game scheduled for Monday, October 12 at 5:00 p.m. ET has been postponed," the league said in a statement Sunday morning. "Details on a new game date and time will be announced shortly. Both teams will now have a Week 5 bye. This decision was made to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel and in consultation with medical experts."
With the news of the rescheduled game, some players expressed frustration on social media. Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon, in particular, expressed disbelief after learning that he and his teammates went through a full practice schedule only to have no game. "Ain't no way we practiced all week and they canceled our game," he tweeted after hearing the news.
The reason for irritation among some of the players is that they won't get a true bye week due to the rescheduled game. The week off traditionally provides consecutive days away from the facility for coaches and players alike. Instead, they went through the full practice schedule, including a session on Saturday, before learning that the game won't take place.
The delay is not ideal for many players, but it will benefit two important members of the Patriots. Quarterback Cam Newton and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore tested positive for the coronavirus and remained away from their teammates. The extra time off will potentially set the stage for their return against the Broncos when the game ultimately occurs. Gilmore previously faced off with the Chiefs during a Week 4 loss, but Newton's backup, Brian Hoyer, took starting snaps during the AFC battle.