The Buffalo Bills season has been one of ups and downs and emotions all over the place. I would liken it to that amusement park ride as a kid where you are in a two or four-seat car on a rollercoaster getting driven up and down with tight twists and turns, always leading to uncertainty as the ride progressed.
From MVP-level performances to downright duds, this Bills team has put the fan base into a tizzy when reality has matched up with expectations. Fortunately, the Bills appear to be heading towards the top of the hill after a complete 33-21 performance over the New England Patriots Sunday.
There is still a lot of track left looming in the distance, hopefully, the Bills continue this superb play to continue their ascent to the top.
Despite the excellent play, there were several injuries including a season-ending one that was suffered in the win. Below are all the details and severity of each injury.
DT Ed Oliver (Right forearm/elbow)
Oliver was tended to by training staff late in the first quarter following a tackle on Patriots RB Damien Harris. He attempted to dive to catch Harris and landed on his elbows. He was able to walk off under his own power and did not require any further attention.
By video, his right elbow/forearm area was away from the broadcast view, but it’s entirely possible that he either got hit while trying to take Harris down or he hit his ulnar nerve and had temporary numbness in his hand.
He sat out several plays and returned to finish the game without appearing to have any issues. This doesn’t appear to be a concern moving forward.
G Ike Boettger (Left Achilles tear)
Boettger went down suddenly early in the second quarter with what I immediately thought was a calf or hamstring injury. Josh Allen immediately went to his side and training staff soon followed. He was designated as an Achilles injury and quickly ruled out of the game.
The official reports were that Boettger suffered a left Achilles tear and is out for the season. This is not his first Achilles injury as he suffered one during his senior season at Iowa in 2017 to the right side.
I detailed out the injury along with his expected recovery over at Buffalo Rumblings that you should go check out for more information. It’s a shame that he suffered the injury but I am hoping for a return in 2022.
CB Levi Wallace (Wind knocked out)
Shortly after Boettger left the field, Wallace briefly required attention from the training staff following a pass breakup on Patriots WR N’Keal Harry. He was able to walk off under his own power and quickly returned to the game, playing in 97 percent of the snaps.
No concern moving forward, simply a consequence of a hard tackle.
RB Devin Singletary (Right ankle sprain)
Singletary suffered what appeared to be a right ankle injury on a run he refused to go down on 2 and 1 after the first hit early in the third quarter. By video, he appears to suffer a low right ankle sprain but was able to walk off. He briefly left, was probable to return, and eventually did, likely getting his ankle taped up.
He didn’t appear to be limited for the remainder of the game but I do expect that his ankle is hurting this week. He may appear on the injury report but I don’t expect the injury to limit him much heading into Sunday. The Bills can easily make him active and have the backfield be a timeshare, allowing him to recover for the playoffs.
WR Isaiah McKenzie (R calf cramping/wind knocked out)
McKenzie had an incredibly busy day Sunday, setting career highs in receptions and yards as he worked the slot in place of Cole Beasley. Towards the end of the game, McKenzie hauled in a pass and landed on the ball, appearing to wince in pain on the sidelines.
By video, he appeared to get the wind knocked out of him. However, on the broadcast, Evan Washburn reported that McKenzie was suffering from cramping in his right calf. Considering the significant increase in play, it’s no surprise he was slightly dehydrated, leading to the cramping. No concerns moving forward.
WR Stefon Diggs (Right knee/Left shoulder)
Despite all the key plays and comments coming from Diggs Sunday, he got roughed up a bit.
Diggs appeared to suffer two injuries, both requiring an assessment from the training staff. The first one was to his right knee right before halftime. It wasn’t clear on broadcast until it was noted that Diggs was walking with training staff into the locker rooms.
After coming out of halftime, Evan Washburn noted that this was a right knee injury and showed the replay below. By video, it’s not clear what he injured. He appeared to touch the inside portion of his knee suggesting a mild MCL tweak, but it wasn’t significant enough to have him miss any time.
I highlight the injury as these little moments, as they may be something early on. He did possibly have knee tendinitis early in training camp; this could have been a recurrence of the issue, but no way of knowing without further information.
The knee tendinitis would be more in front of the knee around the kneecap, but it’s possible the broadcast angle doesn’t allow the viewer to see what he is exactly addressing. Something to monitor.
As for his left shoulder injury, this injury appears to be more clear-cut. Diggs was suplexed down by Patriots CB Myles Bryant that by my estimations, appeared unnecessary. However, Diggs landed hard on his left elbow/shoulder area before he rolled over in obvious discomfort.
Training staff tended to his ailing shoulder, assessing for the most immediate issues. Diggs kept reaching and touching at the front portion of his shoulder where the AC joint is as seen below.
Based on how he hit, either the elbow hit first and jammed the humeral head up into the acromion, causing the separation at the AC joint or the shoulder hit on the ground, causing the compression to injure the shoulder.
Diggs was in obvious discomfort coming off the sidelines talking with the head trainer and orthopedic doctor assessing his strength before the broadcast view cutaway. He returned to finish the game, likely riding on adrenaline to mask any pain he was dealing with.
He may show up on the injury report with the shoulder but it shouldn’t limit him come next week with some rehab and injections to get him through. I don’t anticipate the knee being an issue unless the team designates it as such.
Fortunately, most of the injuries appear minor in nature and shouldn’t have much of an impact on the Week 17 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. The only ones I’m watching closely are Singletary and Diggs as they progress through the week.
Best of luck to Ike Boettger in his recovery as he will be set to have surgery here shortly. Ideally, the Bills will begin to get back Jon Feliciano, Cody Ford, in addition to Gabriel Davis and Cole Beasley to help shore up the offensive depth.
This is when the team needs to be at its healthiest heading into the final stretch of the season. Injuries happen, but hopefully, the losses are minimal. Whoever is the healthiest team heading into the playoffs this year will win the whole thing.
Top Photo Credit: ESPN