The Buffalo Bills took care of business Sunday, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 24-20, moving to 5-1 on the season. While there will likely be a rubber match in January in the playoffs, the hope is that this win helps secure the number one seed for the Bills to host playoff games up through the AFC Championship game.
Having a home-field advantage may be the difference in getting Buffalo over the hump and into the Super Bowl. This would reward a loyal fan base that has been on the doorstep of glory, unable to hoist the Lombardi trophy after many heartbreaking attempts.
Thankfully, there were not too many injuries from Sunday’s game. Below are the in-game injuries along with a discussion on Jordan Poyer’s lung issue that prevented him from flying to the game.
OT Spencer Brown (Right ankle sprain)
Brown went down with a right ankle injury with 6:37 left in the second quarter as the result of getting tripped from behind. While getting tripped, his foot got caught and he rolled the ankle inward, causing a lateral ankle sprain.
The training staff began to call for the cart and Brown waved them off, determined to walk under his own power to the locker room. He was initially questionable with an ankle injury before being downgraded to out.
He was observed on the sidelines in a walking boot without crutches, a positive sign.
After the game, Brown ran into Thad Brown of WROC-TV in Rochester stating that he has a pretty bad sprain. This looks to be a low ankle sprain, but potentially a Grade 2, leading him to have some missed time coming up.
Having the week off without doing any practice and only rehab will be a big benefit to Brown. According to the research, players with a lateral ankle sprain missed on average 6.5 days. However, this did not imply that they were fully healthy to return to play either. Just that they could play.
I actually had to do a double take on that research because it seemed so little in terms of timeframe. It certainly seems reasonable to see whether he could suit up against the Green Bay Packers in Week 8.
My concern is whether he will have the quick step to the right to keep the defender outside. Even with bracing and tape, he may be vulnerable to getting beat due to being a step slower and not being able to push through the foot on that side as well. He has shown to getting bested this season and with an injured ankle, that may only make him more of a liability while he recovers. We will see how he fares after a week off.
The best case is that he doesn’t miss any time, the worst case is what Ty Nsehke dealt with back in 2019, missing five games.
CB Dane Jackson (Stinger)
Jackson briefly left the game with a stinger with 4:52 left in the third quarter. This was the result of getting blocked while Patrick Mahomes ran down the sideline and out of bounds. Jackson became engaged with his blocker and was hit in his facemask, snapping his head backward. Initially, it appeared as though he suffered a shoulder injury due to all the traffic in the area, but upon further review, the head moves suddenly as seen below.
He required an assessment from the training staff and was initially questionable to return. Fortunately, he was able to finish the game. The big concern is suffering another stinger. This is likely his second one now after his Week 2 hit against the Titans that sent him to the hospital. He was cleared to return to football each time suggesting that the paraesthesia he was dealing with was temporary.
Remember, a stinger occurs when there is a sudden compression or stretch to the nerves in the neck or shoulder following impact.
If he continues to have recurrent issues or suffers further stingers, the medical team will look into this further for alternative interventions. They do have imaging to compare against the initial hit and are certainly monitoring the issue. The week off from contact will only help his body recover.
CB Christian Benford (Left-side stinger)
Benford also left the game briefly with a left-side stinger with 12:37 left in the fourth quarter tackling Chiefs TE Noah Gray. As seen in the clip below, Benford hits Gray with his left shoulder and takes him down before being slow to get up.
Initially, I had thought he suffered a re-injury to his right hand, but upon further review, he is favoring his left side and the training staff is assessing his neck.
This looks to be Benford’s first publicly reported stinger and hopefully, that’s all that it is.
S Jordan Poyer (Lung contusion/pneumothorax)
By far the biggest news of the night after the win was the report that Jordan Poyer had to drive to the game as he was medically cleared not to fly. This was the result of an injury from the interception against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4 as seen below.
That hit ended up causing him to have a cracked rib that resulted in a contusion and causing pneumothorax.
A pneumothorax is a medical term for a collapsed lung. This is the result of air getting into the pleural cavity, creating a pressure difference.
A quick anatomy lesson, the lungs reside within the pleural cavity. In between the parietal and visceral pleurae is the intrapleural space that is filled with fluid. This creates surface tension to allow the lungs to expand during inspiration when the chest wall expands.
Overall, there is a negative pressure within the pleural cavity, allowing the lungs to expand to bring in air and allow us to breathe. This pressure is less than the atmospheric pressure outside our bodies. For exhalation, the positive pressure within the lungs itself allows for the escape of air due to elastic recoil.
When a pneumothorax occurs, an opening is created within the pleural cavity that disrupts the pressure within the lungs. The higher atmospheric pressure rushes in and fills the space, preventing the lungs from expanding, hence the collapsed lung.
There are multiple reasons for a pneumothorax including getting stabbed or a puncture wound, blunt force trauma, or more chronic conditions. The blunt force trauma can cause cracked or broken ribs which could disrupt the visceral pleurae, causing pneumothorax.
An alternative mechanism is blunt thoracic trauma, where the increased alveolar pressure can cause the alveoli to rupture, which results in the air entering the pleural cavity. This is more likely what caused Poyer’s issue.
The air gets trapped in there as the puncture area acts as a one-way valve and the only way to reduce the pneumothorax is to allow the air to escape through aspiration with a needle to restore the negative air pressure within. If big enough, the original hole is bandaged up to prevent further air from leaking inside the cavity. Otherwise, the area can seal itself and is monitored to see if further issues arise after stabilization.
This issue needs to be addressed quickly or cardiac and pulmonary issues can occur, causing potentially death.
Poyer himself said this was a contusion on the Pat McAfee show but the concern was that with flying out to the game, the pressure within the airplane cabin could have worsened the lung issue, causing a tension pneumothorax. With the cabin pressurized, the plane is higher up in the air, leading to less atmospheric pressure and less oxygen concentration in the air available. The changes in cabin pressure throughout the flight could lead to the lung collapsing again suddenly.
Historically, flying is contraindicated for two-to-three weeks after an event such as this. The lung contusion also isn’t as efficient in oxygen exchange which could cause shortness of breath and other symptoms in some cases when flying.
I know, this all sounds scary, right? Why was he cleared for a football game, a violent activity, but not cleared for flying? Poyer got the week off last week to heal and give his body a rest and play football, the air pressure is constant. He could have suffered further injury getting hit, but even if that was the case, the training staff would have had the resources to address the problem then and there.
The team would not have been able to control the air pressure differences with flying. That was a risk they were not willing to take, knowing they couldn’t effectively address the issue if it were to occur. Money paid for a van transport to the game is far safer than taking a risk in saving a few hours.
For what it’s worth, Sean McDermott did provide some truth in his wording about the injury, though no one but the team knew the extent of the injury as seen below.
Poyer has the bye week to continue to heal and will be able to play at home against the Packers in Week 8.
Overall, the Bills get a much-deserved bye week as they prepare for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. They are 5-1 and quite possibly the hottest team in the NFL. We may see some new injuries pop up on the injury report next week when they come back, but I’m hoping a lot of names fall off the list and the players continue to heal.
To everyone who made it this far in reading, enjoy the bye week and Go Bills!
Top Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images