Primetime is not an ideal time for the Bills to play in the year 2020. Two primetime games, albeit, an altered schedule with the end result being two losses. To keep things in perspective, the Titans and Chiefs losses come at the hands of the AFC finalists from 2019 & the defending Super Bowl champions.
Either way, a 4-2 record and first place in the division is still nothing to scoff at. On top of it, the Bills continue to trend towards getting healthier after appearing to regress towards the mean in regards to total injuries. They continue to avoid the season-ending variety of injuries and progressing towards getting healthy for the second half of the season. Below are the known injuries from Monday night.
In game injuries:
G Cody Ford (knee)
Ford went down at the beginning of the 4th quarter with 14:36 left as the result of a right knee injury. Looking back at the film, Ford actually injures the knee on the 3rd down play just prior with a pile of bodies falling on top of him. He stayed in during the 4th down play and injured the knee further when he got rolled up on from behind, forcing his knee to the ground. He reportedly was able to walk off under his own power but required the cart to get to the locker room.
By video, it appears he suffered a right MCL sprain due to the mechanism of the injury & the Bills designated the injury as a knee. I had originally thought he could have suffered a high ankle sprain based on having his leg rolled upon. Having an MCL sprain is a far better outcome than a high ankle sprain. MCL sprains vary by severity and it may appear that he suffered a Grade 1-2 sprain due to his week-to-week designation by the team. These can take 2-4 weeks to recover based on the literature and falls in line with what we have seen termed as week-to-week. That designation may have been made considering his other injuries as well.
This is an injury that isn’t all that concerning as these injuries heal up well and do not have lingering problems once healed. While Ford may only miss 1-3 games, I question whether he wouldn’t benefit from a short IR stay from a pure injury standpoint. This is despite him playing some of his best football over the past few weeks. This would help the team in two ways.
This would allow Ford to address his groin, possible left shoulder/elbow injuries, and now right knee. This would also open the door for G Jon Feliciano to return to the active roster without having to outright cut someone. Expect Ford to miss the Jets game & possibly the Patriots game as well.
LB Tyrel Dodson (hamstring)
Dodson left the game early in the 3rd quarter on the punt return with 10:37 left with what appears to be a right hamstring strain. He appears to injure the hamstring trying to slow down once the fair catch was called. He began walking to the sideline motioning to his right leg indicating something was wrong. His night ended as a result and he has also been deemed week-to-week.
Considering this is a hamstring injury & we see how conservative the team is with management, he will probably miss at least the Jets game, possibly the Patriots game as well. We typically see these hamstring strains miss anywhere from 1-3 games based on previous management by the team.
The only upside to his injury is that LB Matt Milano will possibly be returning after a two-game absence which helps cushion the loss of Dodson as depth.
CB Cam Lewis (left wrist)
Lewis had his night end early with a wrist injury midway through the 1st quarter. This was the result of a missed tackle on Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. It is not clear what he injured, but he came back out to the sidelines with a heavy wrap to the area, but ultimately did not return.
It’s hard to say what he exactly injured because he attempted to tackle Edwards-Helaire, missing the tackle and getting swung past him. The left wrist hits Edwards-Helaire and then Lewis falls to the ground. Looking at other angles doesn’t suggest he did anything differently. I don’t have clear information about the exact injury. As the week progresses, we will see in practice his availability or bracing he may have on the wrist. Right now, this one is inconclusive.
WR John Brown (calf/knee)
Brown can’t seem to get out of his own way this season when it comes to injuries. He has been dealing with the foot sorenesss/injury, likely calf strains, and recent knee injury. His lack of production Monday night could also be tied to injury as he appeared to tweak something early in the game on a catch going out of bounds. He never quite looked right in his play and finished with 0 catches on 4 targets.
It’s difficult to identify what he injured on film early on due to the sideline being in the way, but All-22 shows that he appears to strike his left knee while he was falling to the ground to catch the ball. He came up walking gingerly, appearing to favor his left leg, the same one he appeared to injure in practice prior to the Titans game.
Regardless of the injury, he simply is not performing up to his standard of play and satisfying the needs of the offense. It appears that Brown’s injuries are not severe enough to outright bench him, but he is clearly not the effective player that he was last year. He may have to continue to battle through these nagging injuries until he gets to the bye week for some much-needed rest.
Other injury observations
LB Tremaine Edmunds (right shoulder) & QB Josh Allen (left shoulder)
Both Edmunds & Allen both shed their respective shoulder braces at different times for Monday’s game which was an interesting decision. Edmunds shed the brace just prior to the game which is a good sign in his healing process. The team continues to acknowledge he is working through a shoulder injury, the fact that he has ditched the shoulder brace tells me that this injury is more of an AC joint sprain.
If he had torn his labrum, instability would still be present & the chance to partially dislocate or fully dislocate would still be there. I have no doubt it is still painful for Edmunds to play, but there are pain management strategies along with rehab available to help him as he continues to heal.
Allen removed the shoulder brace for the final drive of the game which ended in an interception. I’m not certain why he ditched the brace as I do believe there is some instability present in the shoulder due to the original injury. I have thought that Allen has been forced to change his throwing mechanics as a result of the injury the past two weeks, keeping his left arm closer to his chest during throwing which limits the ability to rotate the trunk. This is something I am going to continue to dig into and reflect back on as there is more data & film available.
He may have shed the brace for the sheer fact that he wanted no restrictions in his ability to construct a game-winning drive. Allen did not come through in the clutch but he also avoided injury. It’s also important to note that he took more runs this game, but they appeared to be more designed runs, allowing him to follow his blockers & reduce the chances for an errant hit. This will be something to continue to assess as the season progresses.
G Jon Feliciano (pectoral injury)
Feliciano continues to practice within his 21-day window to return to the active roster following his pectoral injury from July. He has until October 27th to become activated by the team or return to the IR for the season. Sean McDermott would not comment on whether he would be activating Feliciano due to not wanting to give the Jets any possible advantage in game planning.
I see one of two scenarios play out. The team could activate him Saturday & cut someone in time for Sunday and he begins working back into the lineup. Or he misses Sunday’s game and is activated that Monday or Tuesday when the team has the possibility of putting someone on IR in his place like I had suggested earlier in the article with Ford.
Feliciano should come back & I had suggested a return date of the end of October in my Buffalo Rumblings article from August. The only way he doesn’t come back is if he had a setback, but nothing appears to be suggesting that. Look for the big man to play against the Jets or Patriots.
LB Matt Milano (left pectoral injury)
Milano has been sorely missed the past two weeks dealing with a pectoral injury sustained against the Raiders. He was questionable leading up to this game and there were hopes that he would play. But the research did not suggest it and unfortunately, it was accurate. Considering he was close to 50/50 on playing Monday, that opens the door to return in Week 7 against the Jets.
We still have to see him practice in full this week, but considering he was limited with also a full practice in there indicates that he is progressing. A matchup against the NFL’s worst team could be a nice welcome back game for Milano as he gears up for the second half.
G Quinton Spain (foot soreness)
There still isn’t any new information on Spain’s foot soreness from Tuesday’s game. This is something to continue to monitor but not well-timed due to the fact that Cody Ford is dealing with his injuries. Hopefully, this foot soreness is mild and he can begin practicing more this week.
The team is getting healthier, the injuries they have sustained continue to be overall minor but have prevented the team from fielding an effective roster. A bounce-back game against the Jets is needed to move to 5-2 both in terms of confidence and health. The team will need both as the following 3 games against the Patriots, Seahawks, and upstart Cardinals are true tests if the Bills want to show that the first quarter of the season wasn’t a fluke. We will see what the rest of the week brings as the team prepares for Sunday against the New York Jets.
Top Photo Credit: Rochester First