Buffalo Bills vs Tennessee Titans Week 2 Injury Recap

Buffalo Bills vs Tennessee Titans Week 2 Injury Recap

To borrow a line from the iconic Buffalo Sabres broadcaster, Rick Jeanneret,

These guys are good, scary good!

The Buffalo Bills absolutely demolished the Tennessee Titans 41-7 on Monday night, moving to 2-0 on the season. They are firing on all cylinders and are making it known what their long-term goals are. 

Despite all the fun and domination, there were several concerning injuries to come out of Monday night’s contest that could have lingering ramifications. Below are the known injuries following Monday’s game. 

In-game injuries

C Mitch Morse (Right elbow)

Morse had to exit the game early in the first quarter with 12:47 left following a hard fall on his right elbow. Looking at the video, he engaged with his block and got pulled to the right. His arm gets pulled into external rotation, placing stress through his medial elbow. 

As he was pulled to the right, he fell to the ground, hitting his right arm hard, unable to brace his fall. Training staff assessed him, sending him for x-rays, missing a portion of the game. 

Morse was later spotted on the sideline with his helmet and snapping to test out the elbow. 

As his right side is the side he snaps with, this was crucial to ensure that there were no pain or grip issues. I suspect more of a painful contusion than any structural issues. He eventually was able to return late into the second quarter for the Bills to score again to go up 17-7.

I expect him to be on the injury report as limited but progress through the week. Considering the mechanism of injury and his ability to return, I don’t anticipate that he misses any time for Miami.

TE Dawson Knox (Right foot)

While Knox did not have an injury designation in the game, sideline cameras caught him getting his right foot/ankle area taped up. 

Looking at the video, Knox gets knocked out of bounds after a catch, losing his balance and falling forward over his right foot. The midfoot bends upward, potentially causing a minor sprain. Knox was able to return after taping up the foot and still produced fairly well. It’s possible he may have been walking with some effort later in the game, but playing in 69 percent of snaps would make anyone 

If he shows up on the injury report, there is at least context as to what happened. This injury also does not appear that it will hinder Knox from heading down to Miami. 

CB Dane Jackson (Neck) 

This was obviously the scary injury of the night that managed to silence the entire stadium. Reviewing the play, Jackson takes WR Treylon Burks down following a 12-yard pass to the Tennessee 37-yard line.

LB Tremaine Edmunds attempted to help take Burks down, coming in for a hit. Looking at the replay, it seems as though Edmunds is late and nearly takes Jackson’s head off, but in reality, these are microseconds. 

Edmunds nearly timed it right to hit Burks on his left shoulder/torso area, but Burks continued going down. His momentum kept him going, colliding with Jackson’s head as he had Burks wrapped up to ensure the tackle was made. The linebacker’s 250 lb frame raked over Jackson’s head, sending him into cervical hyperextension. 

Training staff quickly rushed out to assess Jackson due to the hit and inability to immediately get up. After an assessment, the call for an ambulance was made for further evaluation.

It’s important to note, the use of an immobilizing board and ambulance was standard protocol and not indicating the severity of the injury as the team was following the Canadian C-Spine rule. These are criteria that rule in the need for radiography for a suspected cervical injury. You can view the short video below or read it here, but these are criteria that determine whether someone should undergo imaging to make sure there aren’t any immediate pathologies.

Since Jackson had a dangerous mechanism of injury, most notably, the concern for an axial load to the head when Edmunds came over, this is why he was referred out. The axial load is in contact down through the top of the head, causing compression in the spinal column. While he did not have that type of hit, the team isn’t reviewing the video at that moment so if there is a concern for a cervical injury, that’s why they made that decision.

He may have also had parasthesia which is numbness down one of the arms, signaling some type of compression or stretching of the nerves, similar to a stinger that we often see. The presence of that sensation along with the injury could lead to further concerns such as a fracture or disc herniation, pressing on a spinal nerve or cord.

The concerns for paralysis and fracture were of great concern as any instability within the cervical region could have devastating effects. Buffalo Bills fans remember Kevin Everett and can read the article I wrote back in 2017 regarding that moment in 2007.

Thankfully, Jackson was able to go for X-rays and CT scan to determine whether there were any fractures, trauma to the spinal cord, or any other associated damage in the area. Considering he was able to move his limbs and get discharged from Erie County Medical Center the next day signifies that the worst has been ruled out.

Despite being discharged from the hospital, Jackson could still very likely be dealing with localized pain/limited range of motion in the neck or even down the arm. This may present as more of a whiplash injury, considering the circumstances. We don’t know all the information at this time as to how long he will be out. 

The team has not stated whether he was diagnosed with a concussion, which may have not been publicly reported. He may just appear on the injury report with a neck designation. The last time a Bills player had to go to the hospital via ambulance was in 2019 when Cam Lewis suffered a concussion as seen below. 

That injury occurred in the preseason and Lewis missed the following two preseason games as he worked through the concussion. However, this does not mean that Jackson will miss two games as well. Simply provides some historical context to when immobilization and imaging occur. 

I don’t anticipate that Jackson plays in Week 3 due to the short week and injury to the neck, but practice reports will tell us a lot more. How long he is out will be determined by how he feels. Jackson could return quickly or he may need some time off to get right. Thankfully, the worst was avoided. 

DT Jordan Phillips (Left hamstring)

Phillips exited the game early following what looked to be a left hamstring strain. This injury occurred during the Matt Milano pick-six late in the third quarter. Phillips was attempting to keep up with Milano down the field to pick up any blocks if needed. Unfortunately, Phillips went down as though he was shot, appearing to motion for his left side briefly as he went down. 

Running top speed like that late in a game isn’t surprising that he suffered the hamstring strain. While Phillips does have a history of hamstring injuries from his time in Arizona, it’s not certain that this latest injury was the result of that. 

The team is notoriously conservative with hamstring strains, often missing at least one game following the injury. Considering the positional demands of a defensive tackle, driving forward against the resistance of the offensive lineman, places a ton of stress through the posterior chain including the gluteals, hamstrings, and calf muscles. He either would struggle to drive forward and be effective up the middle, or he could injure the hamstring worse, overworking the area.

Depending on the severity of the hamstring will be determined by how much practice time he misses. I don’t see him being an IR candidate as few hamstring injuries truly are. Phillips was also seen walking around in the community the following day, indicating it was more on the milder side. 

With the hopeful return of Ed Oliver and to a lesser chance, Tim Settle, Phillips will be able to rest up, missing Week 3. This will give him a chance to get right to avoid a re-injury to the area later in the season.

S Micah Hyde (Neck/stinger)

The veteran safety required further assessment by training staff following a tackle on WR Robert Woods at 5:34 in the third quarter. Hyde hits Woods as seen in the video below with his facemask and bounces off, jarring his neck.

He was taken into the blue medical tent after being walked off by training staff, and later carted to the locker room. Hyde was likely assessed for a concussion and later sent to the hospital per reports. Going back to the Canadian C-Spine rules, he may have had difficulty rotating his head later on, or other symptoms, requiring further assessment. 

By video, it appears as though Hyde suffered a stinger based on how he hit, the sudden jarring of the neck may have put a quick stretch on the cervical nerves. The hit appears similar to what Tre’Davious White had two years ago against the Steelers. White did not miss any games and was able to practice in full the following week. 

Based on the information we have available at the time of publication, I don’t anticipate that Hyde will miss the Week 3 contest against the Dolphins.

LB Matt Milano (Right side stinger)

The final injury of the night, Milano left the game following a thunderous “welcome to the NFL” hit on QB Malik Willis. He stopped him dead in his tracks with 1:06 left in the third quarter as seen below.

Milano led with his right shoulder and as he hit Willis, the sudden compression of the brachial plexus nerves in the shoulder likely caused pain. A stinger occurs when there is a sudden compression or stretches to the nerves in the neck or shoulder following impact. He is briefly seen shaking out his arm following the hit, later removed from the game due to a stinger. 

There shouldn’t be any lasting effects from the hit heading into practice this week and he should be able to play in Week 3 based on what we know about stingers. 

Other observations

FB Reggie Gilliam (Left elbow/forearm)

Gilliam was sporting a black brace on his left elbow/forearm in the second half, observed by a Bills fan with pictures below.

I had noted it myself but due to the frequency of the other injuries, this ranked low on the level of concern compared to the other injuries. It remains to be seen if there will be more information on that during practice this week.

DT Ed Oliver (Right ankle)/DT Tim Settle (Right calf)/WR Gabe Davis (Ankle)

All did not play after Oliver was ruled out, Settle was doubtful, and Davis was questionable with their respective injuries. I anticipate that Oliver and Davis return to practice this week with Settle practicing in a limited role as well. Settle remains the only concern for whether he can play Week 3, but I am optimistic for Oliver and Davis based on their injuries. 

The injuries are never ideal, especially when the ambulance is involved. The game of football is a violent one and injuries are a guarantee, especially on Monday night. We will get a clearer picture in the coming days on availability, but none of the injuries appear to be season-ending or have long-term impacts. 

Top Photo Credit: Sportsnet.ca