After catching the ball, Cooks veered to his left to elude tacklers, which prevented him from seeing Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins bearing down on him. Jenkins hit Cooks with full force, leaving the wide receiver on the turf for a few moments while he was attended to by trainers.
Despite making helmet-to-helmet contact with Cooks, Jenkins was not called for a penalty on the play. Cooks was eventually able to walk off the field under his own power, but after being escorted to the locker room, he was quickly ruled out for the rest of the game. NBC’s Michele Tafoya reported Cooks was diagnosed with “a head injury,” but apparently not specifically a concussion.
The loss of Cooks was a blow to the Patriots as they headed toward halftime behind on the scoreboard. In his first season with New England, after having been acquired by trade from the New Orleans Saints, Cooks caught 65 passes for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns, adding nine catches for 132 yards in two postseason games before the Super Bowl.
The Patriots’ star tight end, Rob Gronkowski, was knocked out of the AFC championship game with a concussion, but he was cleared in time for the Super Bowl. Before the playoffs, New England got wide receiver Chris Hogan back from a shoulder injury that had kept him off the field since Week 8, except for a brief appearance in Week 13.