The Buffalo Bills are 5-4 after losing to the Cincinnati Bengals 24-18 in a game that was never as close as the score indicates. With the loss, this drops the Bills out of the playoff race and hurts the playoff chances even with half of the season yet to play.
On top of uneven play, the Bills suffered numerous injuries on the defensive side of the ball, further stressing an already injured unit. Below are all the injuries coming out of Sunday’s loss and concerns moving forward.
LB Terrel Bernard (Concussion)
Bernard exited the game with 7:03 left in the second quarter on Sunday night as seen in the play below.
Only issue was, there wasn’t any contact to his head to warrant a concussion which suggested that he suffered the hit earlier in the game. Below is the play that I believe caused the concussion he ultimately left the game with.
Bernard enters the concussion protocol and with only roughly 25 percent of players passing through concussion protocol in under a week, things don’t look good for Bernard. Despite this being Bernard’s first concussion, every concussion is unique and must be managed independently of each other.
However, with the extra day off due to the Bills playing on Monday Night Football, Bernard could pass through the protocol in time. His practice status will have to be watched closely throughout the week.
CB Christian Benford (Right Hamstring)
Coming into the game with a hamstring injury, Benford played in 49 percent of defensive snaps. However, he did not play the second half after tweaking his hamstring. The injury at the time apparently was not severe enough to warrant an injury update. It’s also noteworthy that they staged he could have returned to play if needed.
Considering he tweaked the hamstring injury twice now, I don’t see how he plays unless he is an emergency option. The team typically does a good job managing these soft tissue injuries, but he was possibly forced to play Sunday due to the depth issues already present. I’ll be surprised if he practices at all this week.
TE Dalton Kincaid (Right Shin)
Kincaid was tripped up by Cam Taylor-Britt as seen in the play below.
This should have been a tripping penalty that clearly wasn’t called and led to Kincaid hobbling around the field briefly but not leaving.
Kincaid was able to return to play but was hobbled through the end of the second quarter. It would not surprise me if Kincaid was on the injury report due to the shin injury later this week managing the pain and swelling associated with the hit. This shouldn’t keep him out of Week 10, but it may be painful to run.
S Micah Hyde (Head Injury/Stinger)
Hyde saw himself the recipient of two injuries Sunday night. The first one was a head injury as seen below when he landed on his head/neck area with 3:28 left in the second quarter. He stayed down on the turf briefly before walking off with training staff, missing only one play.
His second injury of the night kept him out for the remainder of the contest when he suffered a stinger. In the play below with 10:34 left in the fourth quarter, he is shoved down by Cordell Volson and slow to get back up after the play.
He appeared to have suffered a stinger but took the brunt of the hit more in the shoulder suggesting a brachial plexus injury versus a stinger from his neck region. Reminder, he suffered a stinger last year which led to him having season-ending neck surgery to have an anterior cervical disc fusion.
Based on the hit, it doesn’t appear that the stinger should be a lingering issue, but I’m sure that he had imaging to his neck to ensure that everything remains stable from the fusion and that there are no associated new issues.
In the Monday press conference, McDermott noted that “we’ll see” when discussing the injury.
I expect them to be conservative this week and listen to his body regarding his pain and function within his neck region. We need a little more information, but this doesn’t appear to be in line with what we saw last year where he had season-ending surgery.
CB Dane Jackson (Left Shoulder)
Jackson was crushed by Bengals guard Alex Cappa on the play below. All of Cappa’s 300+ lb body weight landed on Jackson’s left shoulder as he hit the ground.
This happened with 2:37 left in the fourth quarter and Jackson was also unable to return.
Fortunately, Monday’s press conference noted that Jackson was fine and there appears to be minimal concerns moving forward.
This was a tough game to watch and an even tougher one to lose. Outside of beating the Dolphins, the Bills don’t have many tiebreakers for playoff seeding later in the year. They are 2-4 in the AFC and currently ninth in the AFC standings. There are still plenty of games left to play, but the stakes continue to increase and each game means more. Despite the opportunity for DaQuan Jones and Matt Milano to potentially return later in the year to help the ailing defense plus Dawson Knox, their return may be too little too late unless they string some wins together.
Whatever the Bills have to fix on offense, they better do it. They are too talented to be losing games like this especially with the offense being the healthier unit. The Bills get an extra day off before they host the 3-5 Denver Broncos on Monday night in Week 10. It’s a tough season, the Bills need to keep battling.
Photo Credit: USA Today