Wow, all I can say is, wow! That was quite the performance by both QB Josh Allen and the entire Bills squad as they came in as one of the biggest underdogs in recent memory and blew the Vikings out of the water in their own stadium. While I did predict a loss and many others did, I am quite okay with the results. This win gives true meaning to the term “Any Given Sunday”. As the Bills walk away with a gigantic “W”, letting the NFL know they are not dead in the water, they also walk away with minimal injuries. Today’s post will identify injuries sustained in the game and what this means going forward.
The biggest injury to come out of Sunday’s win is DE Trent Murphy (ankle). The veteran end from Washington in some fan’s eyes has been a disappointment so far after missing the entire preseason with a groin injury with lackluster performances in the 1st two weeks. However, as he has rounded into game shape, his presence was felt in the most recent game with a sack, forced fumble, and two tackles. He continually provided pressure against Minnesota’s woeful O-line which prevented QB Kirk Cousins from showing why he earned that massive contract in the off season.
Murphy sustained a right ankle injury late in the 4th quarter with the game already in hand. During the play, he was in the backfield when one of the Vikings offensive lineman got knocked down and rolled into his ankle. The mechanism initially appeared to favor a high ankle sprain due to him falling down with his foot twisted out. However, it appears that the ankle was merely rolled up on, causing a what appears to be a minor sprain which during Monday’s presser was termed as “day-to-day”. This indicates that this is not severe, he should be available Sunday, and there is no long term damage. To note: this is his right ankle he injured; he tore his left ACL last season. Injuries to the contralateral side can and do occur after major injury such as an ACL, but I believe this is a garden variety sprain and he could be back next week.
Others dealing with injury are CB Taron Johnson (shoulder) and CB Ryan Lewis (cramps). Johnson injured his right shoulder during a tackle in the 3rd quarter, similar to the hit that ended his day in Baltimore. Upon getting up, it was observed that Johnson was wearing a shoulder harness which typically is indicated for shoulder instability. I believe this is the direct result from the Ravens game and reason why he re-injured his shoulder Sunday. I had originally considered the possibility that he injured his AC joint, resulting in a sprain, or suffering a partially dislocated shoulder or subluxation. Reviewing film again, Johnson moves his arm freely walking off the field in Week 1. In Week 3, Johnson was able to return to playing but the hard hits continued to take its toll.
I believe Johnson sprained his AC joint during the initial tackle in Week 1 and is still dealing with some instability. AC joints can and do heal up quicker but still take their required time to rest. That is the most favorable result based on the initial injury. If he suffered a torn labrum via subluxation, he could still play but he may realize that he is not effective, eventually leading him to surgery. However, it is really difficult to determine without further information at this time. I am obviously hoping for the former.
CB Ryan Lewis never had a specific injury identified by the team but I believe that he was dealing with cramping initially as was C Russell Bodine and WR Kelvin Benjamin earlier in the game. However, Lewis went down again late in the game for what appeared to be unknown reasons. During the play, he changed direction suddenly and took a hard step on his right foot and appeared to be favoring it as he jogged into where the play ended. He was standing up, motioning to the training staff before getting down on his hands and knees while he was tended to. Whether this means anything is to be seen. He may show up on the injury report with some type of ailment such as a calf or ankle or it may have just been fatigue. This was his first NFL game action, he had already been dealing with cramps, and the intensity of his first game plus nerves may have tired him out quicker. They say the game moves even faster at that level; it would stand to reason it requires more thought which could lead to greater fatigue. I do not expect any long term issues.
Other than the above mentioned injuries, those coming off injury appeared to have no ill effects. WR Ray-Ray McCloud was able to make his NFL debut and field at least one punt return for some yardage. It was observed that he wells wearing bracing on the left knee to give medial/lateral support supporting the notion that he had a knee sprain. This was most likely due to requiring extra support to the previously injured knee in the preseason win over the Bears. I do not see this being an issue moving forward with him ditching the brace soon.
Others coming off injury include RB Taiwan Jones. Previously mentioned, he suffered the nasty gash to his forehead in the loss to the Chargers. It appears that his wound was healed up enough in order to play without issue. His wound will only continue to heal without any further issues.
Even with the above mentioned injuries, the Bills continue to show strong depth which allows them to stay competitive in games. The Bills should be able to come in healthier against the Packers next week and set themselves up to steal another win from the NFC North.
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