Buffalo Bills vs. Los Angeles Chargers Week 16 Injury Review

Buffalo Bills vs. Los Angeles Chargers Week 16 Injury Review

Find a way.

That’s what Saturday night’s win came down to with a 24-22 Buffalo Bills victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. With a team not having anything to play for but playoff spoiler, the Chargers gave the Bills everything they had and almost came out on top. 

Fortunately, playoff seeding does not factor in style points, just wins and losses and the Bills got the W to move to 9-6. While Bills Mafia held their collective breath at the end of the game, the Bills closed out the win and seemingly avoided major injuries. 

Below are all the in-game injuries & any concerns following the game.

In-Game Injuries

Note: this will be updated following Tuesday’s press conference.

WR Stefon Diggs (Neck)

Diggs got dinged up on the first play of the game when he secured a catch out to the left and then going down. Derwin James came over top trying to avoid a late hit but wanted to make sure he was down. This resulted in James flying over Diggs and raking his hand over Diggs’ helmet, pulling it back.

He briefly left the game and was assessed by training staff on the sidelines rolling out his neck before going back in. Diggs was not active much in the game, securing five receptions for 29 yards on eight targets. 

There is concern that Diggs has not gone over 100 yards receiving in nine games. This may be more design than attributed to any sort of injury based on what we’ve seen Diggs deal with this season. 

His neck may have limited him a little on Saturday, but I don’t see anything in the past injuries leading to a decline in production. Unless the back injury is significantly worse than the team let on, then it’s hard to attribute his lack of production to injury.  That injury however was right in the middle of this streak. I haven’t heard or seen anything to think something more is lingering otherwise. 

LB Terrel Bernard (Right Ankle)

Bernard briefly went down in a routine play late in the first quarter as seen on the play below. At the time, there wasn’t much of a mechanism of injury which make it all the more confusing as to what exactly happened.

He did grasp at his right ankle and was able to walk off under his own power to get further assessed on the sideline. After missing three plays, Bernard was able to test out his ankle and return to play. Following the game, he stated that his foot got caught in the turf and sprained his ankle. 

Looking back at the video, he takes a step just past the 1 of the 10-yard mark. His toes are pointed towards the sideline as he plants and his body is in line with his foot before he cuts to the right up the field. At worst, this would suggest a medial ankle sprain affecting the deltoid ligament. It is rare that we see a true medial ankle sprain, instead they turn out to be more of a high-ankle sprain. 

However, if it was a high-ankle, I would have expected to see Bernard become more hobbled as he went on as the swelling set in. This is an injury, Bernard acknowledges that, but hopefully a milder ankle sprain. Based on what we see on film and his ability to return, I don’t see this being a high-ankle. I’ll be surprised if he shows up on the injury report this week. 

S Damar Hamlin (Right Shoulder)

Hamlin had to briefly leave the game holding his right shoulder on punt coverage early in the second quarter. It’s worth noting he plays only on punt coverage and not punt returns. 

The broadcast view barely catches when he injured his shoulder but he was observed wearing a right shoulder harness later in the game. As to the specific injury, that remains to be seen. 

He was cleared to return and finished out the game. The All-22 view should show more but should Hamlin not be able to play, Micah Hyde should be able to suit up next week. 

CB Christian Benford (Neck)

Benford briefly required an assessment from the training staff following a hit in the third quarter as seen below.

He collided with the receiver which forced his neck laterally to the left. Jordan Poyer then jumped over to avoid the late hit, clipping Benford’s helmet, further stressing the neck. 

The head AT, Nate Breske began to palpate Benford’s trapezius and midline of neck before missing at least one play. He was able to quickly return and finished out the game. There may be residual soreness during the week and if there was a stinger, he may be one to note on the injury report. 

Other Observations

The Bills moved to 9-6 on the season. Far from pretty how they got it done, but they control their own destiny. Win out and they’re in the playoffs. Win out and the Dolphins lose one, the division is theirs.

They’re getting hot at the right time and can hang with anyone in the league right now. Let’s see them finish the job and make some noise in the playoffs.

Top Photo Credit: AP/Ryan Sun