Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots Week 17 Injury Review

Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots Week 17 Injury Review
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) is forced out og the pocket by New England Patriots linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley (8).

The Buffalo Bills escaped again with an ugly win, a 27-21 over the New England Patriots. This victory pushed the Bills to 10-6 and in control of their destiny heading into Week 18. With a win next week, the Bills would secure the second seed in the AFC playoffs and at least one home playoff game. 

A loss sends them to the sixth or seventh seed or even out of the playoffs under certain circumstances. The Bills know what is at stake and are heading into the contest against the Miami Dolphins as the healthier team. 

However, the Bills did suffer several minor injuries which are noted below.

In-Game Injuries

TE Dawson Knox (Concussion Check)

Knox suffered a hit to the head by Jalen Mills with 54 seconds left in the first quarter. Once he got back to the sidelines, he was observed on the broadcast talking to Nate Breske, the head athletic trainer. Either this conversation or someone else prompted him to undergo a concussion check in the blue medical tent.

Fortunately, he was cleared to return and finished the game. He was not identified as a player dealing with injury the next day and should be healthy enough heading into Week 18. 

QB Josh Allen (Neck Stinger)

Allen suffered a stinger on his final play of the game when he took a run to the right to take more time off the clock. He took a hard collision going down in discomfort. Walking back to the sidelines, he was checked out by training staff assessing the left shoulder. 

Following the game, Allen stated that he suffered a stinger and that it felt funky.

On Monday, the team reiterated that Allen had some neck soreness from the stinger and that he would be alright. 

He was observed rubbing his fingers out on the right side after he came down suggesting that he suffered the stinger on the right side. Either way, the hit led to the sudden compression or pulling of the nerves within the neck. This shouldn’t impact his ability to play in Week 18 other than mild soreness moving his neck around early in the week. 

Other Observations

TE Dawson Knox (Herniated Lumbar Disc/Broken Bone Wrist)

On Friday, Ryan O’Halloran of The Buffalo News reported that Dawson Knox had a herniated disc in his lower back heading into Week 3 and a broken bone in his wrist in October.

The disc issue was news to me as he did not practice that Wednesday or Thursday before getting a full practice on Friday and playing. Nothing suggested that he was dealing with anything of the sort, though his history did suggest that this may have been an issue prior. 

Either way, he had an injection in the area and continued to play through the issue. Whether this will require surgery in the offseason remains to be seen.

As for the broken wrist bone, this was likely the scaphoid bone, commonly broken in instances such as how Knox injured his wrist. I had believed he suffered more ligamentous damage than bone considering the delay in surgery. 

While he likely did have imaging later which further revealed the fracture and necessitated the surgery. Scaphoid fractures are not always readily seen on imaging after injury, but it was surprising that the team still had him play through the injury if there was possible suspicion. This led me to believe there was not a fracture. 

In addition, the team indicated that this was an injury that would not get worse but it clearly would as scaphoid fractures are slow to heal and can become problematic. This is what led me to believe they went in a different direction with the surgery had he had instability within the wrist.

Hindsight is 20/20 and the exact injury I did get wrong, but the timeline was still thankfully correct. I highlight this because right or wrong, it’s still important to understand the thought process when discussing these injuries. 

WR Stefon Diggs (Mystery Injury)

There have been a lot of people asking about the last of production from Stefon Diggs this season and trying to attribute it to injury. 

At this point in the season, he may be dealing with the bumps and bruises of playing every week. But for something significant to be lingering that the team did not put on the injury report is hard to believe at this time. 

In the tweet below, I highlighted the injuries that Diggs has dealt with this season, all fairly minor. 

I’ve gone through and watched the practice film, and the game film, and reviewed notes. Outside of his collision with the security guard that led to the back designation ahead of Week 10, I’m not certain any significant injury exists. Even the collision would not indicate an injury, that’s just the most notable possibility.

I have seen the stats that show his snap count has decreased in the later portion of the season. When his snap count began to go down, Joe Brady took over the offense. The team has also reiterated it on Monday regarding his playing time. 

It stinks to see that Diggs is in a slump, but right now, I can’t attribute it to injury; we don’t have a clear-cut reason unless it happened in practice. Even then, this would have still been reflected on the injury report at some point. Unless we get new information, I can’t make the connection between Diggs’ production and a possible injury. 

The Bills have a few more days to get healthy to prepare for the Week 18 showdown against the Miami Dolphins. This should be an exciting game with the Bills poised to take advantage of a reeling Dolphins team dealing with a brutal loss and several notable injuries.

Top Photo Credit: Jamie Germano/Rochester D&C