The Buffalo Bills appeared to find a temporary cure to the ills that plauged them over the last six weeks by securing a 32-6 win over the New York Jets on Sunday. This win moves them to 6-5 on the season and in eighth place in the conference. While they are still very much in control of their playoff lives, multiple injuries in the secondary and a Week 12 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles complicate matters.
Below are the injuries from Sunday’s win over the Jets and concerns moving forward.
CB Dane Jackson (Concussion)
Midway through the second quarter, Jackson attempted to square up to tackle Jets TE Jeremy Ruckert on a pass up the left side. Ruckert instead drops his helmet and crashes into Jackson as seen in the clip below.
Jackson was slow to get up and when he did, appeared glassy-eyed as he required assistance to walk off the field straight to the locker room. He was evaluated for a head injury and later ruled out. On Monday, Sean McDermott announced that Jackson was in the concussion protocol.
Players have not had much luck in progressing through the concussion protocol within a week’s time to avoid missing a game. Dalton Kincaid was unable to make it through the protocol in a week whereas Terrel Bernard was, but had the benefit of an extra day. We will have to see how this plays out this week. If Jackson can’t go, I would expect Christian Benford to get the start despite still recovering from a right hamstring strain.
S Taylor Rapp (Neck)
Rapp suffered a neck injury that looked to be a stinger on a collision with Jets RB Breece Hall. Rapp’s right shoulder was slammed into with his head suddenly laterally flexing to the left and back.
On broadcast, he was out of the frame which made what was happening difficult to determine. On replays, Rapp initially is in discomfort before being overcome with pain and having to go down to the turf.
Due to either the dangerous collision or paresthesia in an extremity, the Canadian C-Spine rules were followed and he was placed on a backboard with immobilizer for further evaluation. Fortunately, the trip to the hospital was not needed as reports later stated that Rapp was in the locker room.
Monday’s news updates revealed that Rapp had all negative testing and later news revealed that he could potentially play on Sunday. His practice participation will be watched closely to see if he remains on track.
He did appear to suffer a stinger last week for which he did not miss time, but it’s not known if the prior injury contributed to the latest one.
CB Taron Johnson (Concussion)
On the same play that injured Rapp, Johnson’s helmet collided with Hall and Rapp’s, sending him to the turf. He briefly appeared to demonstrate a fencing response with the arms flexed and rigid as he went down.
The training staff initially tended to him and at one point brought out the backboard but Johnson was able to walk off under his own power. He was also later placed in the concussion protocol and it remains to be seen if he clears by next week.
S Micah Hyde (Stinger)
Hyde is considered day-to-day with a stinger flare-up suffered on Sunday. Looking at the play below, he attempted to complete a tackle and looked to get his head snapped back as he went down.
There is obvious concern as this is now his second stinger in several weeks. He originally suffered two neck injuries against the Bengals in Week 9 that forced him to miss last week against the Broncos.
Structurally, I still believe he is fine coming off the fusion, but if there is another disc herniation elsewhere or stenosis, that could be problematic. The irritation of the nerve injury too also leads it to being more likely to be injured again in the future which appears to have happened. We’ve seen stingers get aggravated with former guard Rodger Saffold work though a nerve issue in his shoulder prior to signing with Buffalo and Eric Wood who suffered multiple stingers during the 2017 that ultimately led to his career ending injury.
We don’t know specifically where the nerve is getting injured at which makes it difficult to prognosticate Hyde moving forward. He will be limited in practice to reduce irritation, but the bye week after this game will be invaluable for him to get right.
CB Cam Lewis (Right Shoulder)
Johnson’s replacement also suffered a shoulder injury on what appears to be a direct blow to his right shoulder.
Lewis also worked through a right shoulder injury in the Week 6 win over the New York Giants. He did have tape on the right shoulder coming into the game indicating the shoulder still needed some maintenance.
He managed to stay in the game and finish as the defense shut down and potential Jets comeback. Whether this is an AC joint sprain or contusion, Lewis will be called upon next week if Johnson can’t clear concussion protocol.
LB Tyler Matakevich (Chest)
Matakevich got some defensive snaps late in the game as the win was in hand. On a tackle with just under three minutes to go, Matakevich appeared to get hit in the chest, briefly requiring trainer assistance.
He motioned to his chest, possibly suggesting that he got the wind knocked out of him when Dorian Williams crashed into the Jets player and Matakevich. Thankfully after that play, he wasn’t needed much more as the offense closed out the final minutes with kneel downs.
DE Kingsley Johnathan (Right Leg)
Johnathan appeared to get his right leg rolled up on midway throught the fourth quarter as seen on the play below. He was limping on special teams and appearing to gut out the remainder of the game as he took over defensive snaps to close out the game.
He was not mentioned on the injury update on Monday, but if he shows up on the injury report Wednesday with a knee or ankle designation, this is why.
CB Rasul Douglas (Left Ribs)
This may not even be an injury, but Douglas was down briefly on the turf following his second interception of the night after receiving friendly fire from Dorian Williams.
I am sure that it was painful in the moment or at least had the wind knocked out of him, but this is another instance of if he’s on the injury report, this may be why.
TE Dawson Knox (Right Wrist)
Knox is officially eligible to come off injured reserve following his Week 5 wrist injury and surgery two weeks later. Despite serving the minimum four games, the team will elect to hold off from putting him on the active roster until after the bye. This is for two reasons, first, they would need to cut someone to add him, and second, he would benefit from an additional two weeks of rehab before he returns to play.
For more information on the original injury and likely procedure, make sure to click below.
It’s important to highlight that Knox is wearing a bone stimulator on his right wrist in the picture above which suggests more of an issue with the scaphoid rather than the scapholunate ligament or TFCC. This would also imply that there was more damage than originally thought. This explains why he was not activated either this week and may lead to Week 14 less of a certainty.
It’s also worth noting that DaQuan Jones is out of his sling from what we can see which is positive news. He continues to have an outside chance at returning this season.
The Bills are still very much in control of their playoff lives as they face a formidable Philadelphia Eagles unit coming off a physical 21-17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday. This was a game that if the Bills did lose, they could have absorbed the loss if they had beaten several other teams earlier in the season.
They little room for error and pretty much have to win this game in order to maintain having a chance at winning the division or at least securing a wild card spot. This is where the Bills can turn it on and make a run like they did during the 2021 season.
Top Photo Credit: AP/Adrian Kraus