As much fun as the idea of going to England to play a football game in front of the whole world, the actual results were anything but fun. Losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars 25-20 on Sunday dropped the Buffalo Bills to 3-2 on the year at the quarter mark of the season. While the Jaguars were no slouches by any means led by former number one overall pick Trevor Lawrence and fresh off an appearance in the divisional round of the playoffs, this game still left a bitter taste in Bills fan’s mouths.
With the score 11-7 until midway through the fourth quarter, the offensive drives were simply too late after a Herculean effort by the defense to keep the game close after multiple injuries. There are a lot of variables that contributed to the loss which include game plans, personnel usage, travel plans, and even injuries.
This game saw double-digit instances of injuries, leading to a very busy day by the medical staff. Despite most injuries being relatively manageable, the Bills did lose two key defensive contributors for the foreseeable future.
Read below for all the injuries coming out of Sunday’s loss and other observations.
DT DaQuan Jones (Right Pectoral Injury)
Jones exited the game after just four defensive plays due to a right pectoral injury while trying to tackle Jacksonville RB Tank Bigsbee. He was initially doubtful to return but never was realistically considered to return due to the severity of his injury as seen below.
On Monday, the team announced that Jones would undergo surgery for a right pectoral injury and a timeline has not been established. To understand the injury along with a possible timeline to return, click below.
WR Stefon Diggs (Chest/Ribs)
As mentioned in the tweet, Diggs stayed down a little longer than I had expected after a routine tackle and late push early in the game. He briefly appeared to touch his right rib/chest area but did not leave the game.
He played in a season-high 87 percent of offensive snaps and while I do not believe there is anything moving forward, initial concerns or observations are warranted if something pops up later.
LB Matt Milano (Right Knee Injury/Fracture)
As the news began to filter in regarding the status of DaQuan Jones, All-Pro LB Matt Milano went down with a right knee injury after a collision near the line of scrimmage. He required assistance to get off the field before having an air cast placed on his leg for further imaging.
Reports later confirmed a fracture, though it did not specify what type and where. There was concern for an ACL tear but updates from the team did not acknowledge that this was indeed damaged. Milano was set to undergo surgery and is out indefinitely.
To learn more about his injury including timelines, make sure to click below.
LB Leonard Floyd (Right Ankle)
Floyd required attention from the training staff twice throughout the game. He initially suffered an injury on the same play when Matt Milano went down. The second instance was with 17 seconds left in the second quarter that was not seen on broadcast view or readily seen on All-22 as the camera pans away into the end zone.
After the game, Floyd indicated that his right ankle was still bothering him from Week 2. This injury has lingered for two years despite surgery and will most likely continue to linger as he plays through it, limiting his practice through the week.
CB Taron Johnson (Right & Left Knee Injuries)
Johnson also suffered several injuries during Sunday’s contest, this time to both knees. The first injury was a non-descript right knee injury that appears to be a contusion as he completed a tackle out of bounds as seen in the first clip below.
However, the second injury required assistance from the training staff as seen in the second clip above. Looking at the play, Johnson jumped to try and get in the way of the pass before he came down on the left knee with it hyperextending slightly. The cart was initially called out to help Johnson off the field before he was able to walk off under his own power and later return. He was dangerously close to being the third major injury of the day having his knee buckled more or pivoted outward.
After the game, Johnson was highly critical of the turf for not being better quality. To save money, the soccer clubs switch out the natural grass for turf to prevent the football games from tearing up the grass. Makes you wonder where the priorities are for NFL football.
It would not surprise me to see Johnson on the injury report this week due to a left knee injury.
DE Kingsley Jonathan (Right Hip/Thigh)
Playing in a career-high 26 defensive snaps and contributing another 19 on special teams, Jonathan was a busy man Sunday. In the first clip below, he gets an absolute shot to his right hip/thigh area that required him to leave the field with 7:44 left in the first quarter. He was later able to return after a brief absence.
In the second instance didn’t see much happen to Jonathan, but once again, training staff came out to tend to him briefly. This could have potentially been cramping, but a lot was asked of Jonathan this game due to the other injuries.
OT Dion Dawkins (Left Ankle)
Dawkins had to leave the game for one offensive snap for what appeared to be a left ankle injury. He was down after the play speaking to training staff before walking off. Due to needing a quick check, he was required to miss one offensive play when Ryan Van Demark came in for relief.
Dawkins was able to immediately return and while it’s not clear on film what he did, this is not an injury that I expect to linger.
TE Dalton Kincaid (Concussion)
Kincaid suffered a hit to his head with 14:48 left in the fourth quarter after a 14-yard play over the middle. As he is tackled, there is some contact with the head which likely led to a call down from the ATC concussion spotters for further assessment. He briefly left the field for a head check but cleared and returned to the game.
On Monday, the team announced that Kincaid was in the concussion protocol, indicating that he developed symptoms later either in the locker room or trip home. This is Kincaid’s publicly documented concussion and it remains to be seen how quickly he can pass through the protocol this week.
DT Ed Oliver (Cramps)
Oliver briefly left with training staff due to what appeared to be cramps in his left leg. Considering how hard the defense was playing, it’s a surprise that not more players were dealing with cramps at the end of the game.
TE Dawson Knox (Right Wrist)
Knox was a surprise addition to the long list of injuries during Monday’s press conference, dealing with a wrist injury. There were no reports in the game of him exiting, but reviewing the video helped identify the possible injury. With 6:35 left in the fourth quarter, Knox caught an 11-yard pass from Allen over the middle of the field.
Several Jacksonville players tackled him with a late body coming over the top and appearing to hit him in the right wrist with a helmet as he rolled over. Knox popped up immediately and left the field as the drive continued. There was no indication that he suffered an injury until looking at the film.
Knox was in and out during the drive based on play selection, but after this play, he had tape on the right wrist area. Prior to this, he was wearing matching white armbands in the area.
Whether this was a sprain or contusion, it’s difficult to determine even on the All-22 video. This will be an injury to monitor despite finishing the game. With Kincaid’s status up in the air for Sunday, Knox’s injury doesn’t help matters.
DE Von Miller
Miller was pulled from the game with 7:12 remaining in the third quarter after hitting his snap count of 20 plays.
The team had a plan and stuck to it as they brought back Miller slowly. Considering all the other injuries they had that day and this was the first action for Miller since last Thanksgiving, they were smart to keep this situation independent of the game status. Sometimes, these game plans can get thrown out the window which could have led to further injury. A small criticism could have been that they saved his snaps for the end of the game when he was needed, but there was no way to foresee that he would be needed that late in the game.
This was absolutely the right call and kudos to the team to stay on track and live to fight another day.
CB Josh Norman
Norman was reported to sign with the practice squad on Monday, bringing the veteran back for a second stint with the team. You can read his prior injury history from his time with the Panthers and Redskins along with his time with the Bills right here.
After he left Buffalo in 2020, he saw playing time with the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers. He suffered a chest injury in Week 3 of the 2021 season that saw him doubtful and miss 1 game. He later appeared on the injury report prior to Week 10 with a ribs designation, initially questionable before playing.
He did not appear on the injury report for the Carolina Panthers in 2022 as he spent most of the year as a practice squad call-up.
This is a veteran player who knows the coaching staff, defense, and team as a whole. The knowledge is still there, but the skills are unfortunately diminishing. The team needs to bring someone in who can at least step in quickly until they develop other plans.
Sunday was terrible. The injuries, the play on the field, nearly everything other than some individual defensive performances from Ed Oliver and AJ Epenesa. The Bills host the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football with both teams coming in equally injured. Lots of rest and limited reps through the week will hopefully allow the Bills to step up and get back in the win column.
Top Photo Credit: Jamie Germano / USA TODAY NETWORK