During the six weeks that the Patriots played without Rob Gronkowski previously, running back Shane Vereen missed five and wide receiver Danny Amendola missed three of them.
Vereen has proven to be among the most important players on the Patriots offense, averaging eight catches per game, second most in the NFL. His soft hands and open-field running make him the ideal fit to line up on Brady's hip when the Patriots turn to their up-tempo, often shotgun approach.
Amendola, meanwhile, has had sufficient production this season, but not necessarily in line with what many expected after a standout preseason that drew comparisons to the receiver he's helped to replace, Wes Welker.
As the stakes raise and the postseason draws nearer, both Amendola and Vereen will be pivotal in the attempt to ensure that this version of the offense without Gronk surpasses the one witnessed earlier this season.
Amendola was knocked out of Week 6 with a head injury, but caught 10 passes for 104 yards in Week 1 and another four catches for 55 yards in Week 5 with Gronkowski sidelined. He's been fairly quiet of late, but that will change if he starts to see double-digit targets.