2020 AFC Championship Bills Injury Preview- Chiefs

Will Butler and Davis suit up Sunday? What Chiefs will be effective?

We are on the precipice of a truly historical moment for the Buffalo Bills! One more win and the Buffalo Bills will be crowned AFC Champions and return to the Super Bowl for the first time in 27 years! Not only has it been a long time since the Bills have been this far in the playoffs, but it has also felt like a long week as injury updates come out daily on not only the Bills but the status of Patrick Mahomes and whether he would be cleared from the concussion protocol in time. 

Thankfully, at the time of publication, it is one day away from the Bills and Chiefs squaring off for the right to represent the American Football Conference in the Super Bowl. Below are all the injury updates for both the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs.

QUESTIONABLE

WR Gabriel Davis (Right ankle)

It was obvious that Davis injured his ankle missing that touchdown pass early in the 2nd quarter that limited him the remainder of the game. Two DNP’s with a limited practice isn’t ideal either, but it is promising. It looks like a low inversion ankle sprain on video, but it could be more based on examination and video angles available. 

It may come down to how much he can run and jump around the field. While he is insanely talented, trying to toe-tap catches and run his routes crisply may make things difficult. Could Kenny Stills play in Davis’s place? Quite possible but he’s only been here a few weeks. Does he have a rapport with Josh Allen? It’s possible the Chiefs could have game-planned for the possibility of Stills knowing that Davis may not play. 

I want to lean towards Davis playing, but as an injured rookie, do they put him out there or let a veteran wide receiver that is healthy play? That’s the one thing we don’t know. 

DT Vernon Butler (Quadricep)

I had originally thought Butler was dealing with a foot injury in the game, but he appeared later on the injury report with a quadriceps injury. He left the game late in the 3rd quarter, right before Taron Johnson delivered the game-sealing pick-six. It’s not clear when he injured the quadriceps but having two DNP’s and a limited practice isn’t a ringing endorsement that he will play. 

A strain can be played through, but the concern is whether he re-injures the quadricep and they do not have a healthy body in his place. Most of the time, a quadricep would require a player to sit out at least one game, but there may not be any next week. 

ACTIVE 

WR Cole Beasley (Left knee)

Beasley re-appears on the injury report Thursday with a knee injury that is likely the same injury he’s been dealing with since Week 16. He was highly productive against the Colts in the Wild Card round but didn’t have much of an impact last week against the Ravens. Considering he was limited Thursday indicates that either he tweaked his knee Wednesday and had to take it easy Thursday, or he tweaked it or took time off at some point during Thursday’s practice. Taking all but one rep or only taking one rep is all the same under the limited designation.

Whatever Beasley is dealing with, he will get it addressed following the season. I had thought if he had sat out against the Colts, he could have been fresher in the next round, but hindsight is 20/20. Ideally, he gets more targets due to taking another week to get healthy.

LB Tremaine Edmunds (Hamstring)

Details are still scarce regarding Edmunds hamstring. He played in all the defensive snaps Saturday despite his hamstring designation last week. He practiced in full all week and while is likely not 100%, he’s good enough to continue to go out and perform for another week.

DT Quinton Jefferson (Ankle)

Like Edmunds, Jefferson’s ankle injury was not noticeable on film, playing in 46% of snaps which isn’t too far off his usual production from the season. He has no game designation and I would expect his production to not be affected greatly, though his snap could probably increase if Vernon Butler does not play.

DE Darryl Johnson (knee)

After missing last week with a knee injury, Johnson returns to practice with full participation this week. I still have not been unable to find the specifics of the knee injury from the Colts game and the week off appeared to help him greatly. His availability will make Trent Murphy expendable for this game and having Johnson back on special teams may be a difference-maker come Sunday. 

WR Stefon Diggs (Oblique)

The severity of the oblique injury is probably more severe than Diggs and the team has let on, but he continues to produce. I have not observed anything on film that suggests that the oblique is significantly affecting him. Listing the injury may be more of a formality at this point and hopefully the week off in between if the Bills win and make their way down to Tampa.

K Tyler Bass (Right hand)

Bass continues to practice in full dealing with a right-hand injury and wearing at least a brace on the hand. It’s not clear what he is dealing with, but this will not affect his kicking abilities for Sunday.

CHIEFS INJURY REPORT:

OUT

LB Willie Gay (Ankle)

Gay is reportedly dealing with a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 17 and is already ruled out. High ankle sprains take some time to come back from and it’s clear that the Chiefs don’t believe he is ready which bodes well for the Bills Sunday. 

QUESTIONABLE

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (left high ankle/hip)

Edwards-Helaire is coming off a left high ankle sprain and hip strain sustained in Week 15. He has been out for an entire month, though only missing 2 games due to the bye week for the number one seed.

While he will not be 100%, having the month off should allow him to come back and be effective enough from the ankle standpoint. Considering that he suffered the hip strain, that should be fully healed by now, but it’s possible that he could be dealing with something greater currently unreported that he will play though. After having as much time off as he did, I fully expect him to play. 

WR Sammy Watkins (Calf)

Watkins has missed the last 2 games with a calf injury sustained in the win over Atlanta. At the time, the calf injury was not perceived as being serious and the thought was that he would be back in time for the divisional game. 

It stands to reason that he could return to play in this game as the stakes are higher. Calf injuries linger due to the demands of the muscle when pushing the foot down to sprint and jump. It could be quite possible that he re-injures the area during the game too, but I don’t foresee the team holding him out again. We all know when Sammy Watkins is healthy, he’s electric. But when he’s not, his production really suffers. I’d expect he plays as well.

CB Bashaud Breeland (Concussion/shoulder)

The concussion is the more worrisome injury than the shoulder as it has not been clarified that he has passed the protocol. He appeared trending in the right direction with limited practices all week but it may not be known that he passes the protocol until game time. He may be one that misses due to not being cleared.

Update: he has since cleared concussion protocol.

CB Rashad Fenton (Foot)

There aren’t any reports to clarify the status of the foot injury. He was also limited in practice this week and considering Breeland is a true question mark, I would suspect Fenton to play through whatever he is dealing with. 

RB Le’veon Bell (Knee)

Bell is reportedly dealing with swelling in his knee that limited him Thursday/Friday and it’s unknown whether he plays. Considering Edwards-Helaire is likely to play which could keep Bell on the inactive list especially the knee injury appeared to get aggravated later in the week. I anticipate he sits this one out considering the Chiefs have Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson for depth. 

QB Patrick Mahomes (Concussion/left toe)

I think every single person on social media has had an opinion on the status of Patrick Mahomes this week. It has been mind boggling. I laid out the facts of Mahomes time in the concussion protocol at The Game Day, the previous article at Banged Up Bills, and even detailed at Locked On Bills. I had said on Locked On Bills that it didn’t matter why Patrick Mahomes was in the concussion protocol, he was in there and as a result, he has to successfully navigate the protocol. 

He did and we can move past that. His left toe injury will be the biggest concern heading into Sunday’s contest. The injury is detailed above in all of the links. In addition, check out this thread from Erik Turner from Cover 1 using the video to detail how Mahomes was limited with the toe after the injury and how the Bills can game plan against him. Certainly worth the time to read and understand. 

Bills Inactives:

QB Jake Fromm

WR Gabriel Davis*

LB Tyrel Dodson

DE Trent Murphy

OL Jordan Devey

TE Tyler Kroft

Practice Squad player

*Kenny Stills to be called up in place of Davis, other call up would be inactive as the team has done in recent weeks.

The Bills can win this one. They really can. I had predicted on Locked on Bills that the Bills would win 28-24. That would cover the spread and take the under according to Pointsbet. The Bills could win this simply because of all the talent missing from the last game. Dawson Knox, Matt Milano, and Harrison Phillips did not play last time. John Brown was injured early in the game and a non-factor. Tre’Davious White was coming off a back injury that forced him to miss the Titans game. Josh Allen was still working through his left shoulder injury sustained in Week 4 against the Raiders. 

The Bills are a hot team right now and fairly healthy as detailed above. The Buffalo Bills may very well be the 2020 AFC Champions and could play in Super Bowl 55. This could really happen. Now all we have to do is sit back, wait for kickoff at 6:40 pm on January 24th, 2021, and enjoy the game. Go Bills!

Top Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark Zaleski

2020 Divisional Round Bills Injury Review- Ravens

How serious are the injuries from Sunday’s game? What is going on with Patrick Mahomes?

Being a Bills fan all these years, you kept hoping that they’d eventually be good again. Now it’s here, it still doesn’t feel real. It really is a weird feeling that the Buffalo Bills are in the AFC Championship game and one win away from a Super Bowl after beating the Baltimore Ravens 17-3 Saturday night.

They move on to play the Kansas City Chiefs dealing with several minor injuries that are worth looking at prior to Sunday night. However, the huge storyline will be whether Patrick Mahomes will be able to play following entering the concussion protocol Sunday that allowed the Cleveland Browns to almost come back and win. All the Bills injuries and thoughts on Mahomes are below.

In-Game Injuries:

DT Vernon Butler (Left foot)

Butler exited the game briefly halfway through the 1st quarter, only observed limping off to the sidelines to get looked at by training staff. Upon video review, it appeared that he had his left foot stepped on during the play. 

He left briefly to get it checked out but came back and likely played through pain for a majority of the game. He likely had x-rays to rule out any fractures, but it may be more pain than anything. 

According to Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic, Butler didn’t play the entire 4th quarter though that may have been by design rather than injury. It doesn’t appear that he should miss the game but he potentially could be limited in practice this week.

WR Gabriel Davis (Right ankle) 

Davis injured his right ankle trying to extend out for a touchdown catch midway through the 2nd quarter. He came up limping and briefly exited the game, eventually designated as questionable with an ankle injury.

Based on video, this could be a low inversion ankle sprain. He may have also jammed his ankle when his forefoot struck the ground. He was at times in obvious discomfort throughout the game and wasn’t as much of a factor for the remainder.

I would expect him to be limited this week but play Sunday. Having the extra day to rest does help things but tape and toughness will help him get through this latest injury.

QB Josh Allen (Right knee/ankle)

Allen once again scared everyone when he went down late in the 3rd quarter, pounding the ground in obvious discomfort. Upon review, he injured his right leg in a similar fashion as to when he injured it in the Chargers game. The stress through his right leg is significantly less compared to the previous injury.

It looks like he stressed the knee more so than the ankle since the foot came up off the turf as he went down. He could be wearing a knee brace again next week or he may not need it. What might have helped was the previous injury to the area giving more flexibility to the tissue as it’s still remodeling and healing. 

Allen has played through much worse injuries and thus one won’t change his availability for Sunday. 

TE Reggie Gilliam (Left leg)

Gilliam went down on kickoff following the Taron Johnson interception for a touchdown, quickly requiring the attention of trainers upon going down. His left leg was worked out on the field and left once the defense took the field. He missed the next offensive series before returning, lining up as a fullback.

Considering he came back so quickly especially after dealing with a hamstring injury earlier this season, it’s possible he was dealing with some cramping. He was moving without hesitation supporting that this may be the case. I don’t foresee that he shows up on the injury report and I expect that he’s available for Sunday. 

Other injury observations:

K Tyler Bass (Right hand) 

Bass didn’t get injured but it was noted that he injured his right hand in practice, clarifying the injury report from last week. It looks like a brace on the hand but it didn’t impact his ability to perform. This is really just something to note to clarify to what we already know. 

RB Devin Singletary (Hamstring)

There were reports that Singletary was holding his hamstring following his last carry with 2:41 left in the 4th quarter, limping to the sidelines. He did fall down to his right as though he slipped while he tried to make his cut. Looking at the video, there really isn’t much to look at. He is observed walking around post-game without any noticeable limp or requiring any assistance. It is possible that he was also dealing with cramping, but there doesn’t appear to be anything definitive. If he shows up on the injury report, then we at least know when it occurred. 

QB Patrick Mahomes (Concussion protocol/toe)

Disclaimer: There is more information that must be known throughout the week and will be updated as needed.

Quite possibly the biggest news story of the NFL playoffs, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes exited the divisional round game to be evaluated for a concussion following getting twisted down by Mack Wilson

Considering the possibility of a concussion could prevent Mahomes from playing Sunday, this is enormous in terms of whether the Bills can make the Super Bowl. From what we see right now, I have no idea whether he will play Sunday. Below are several statements regarding concussions and concussion protocol to better understand this process.

  • If someone is evaluated for a concussion but passes, they can return to the game. But if they pass, it doesn’t mean that it is automatic. If the player exhibits something out of character or still shows questionable symptoms, they can be held out as a precaution.
  • Once Mahomes enters the concussion protocol, he has to still pass through the protocol to be cleared to play. Even if he doesn’t officially have a concussion. This also prevents Mahomes from talking to the media and does allow the Chiefs to keep the Bills on their toes as to whether he will play. 
Credit: NFL
  • Most concussions take anywhere from 7-10 days but can take significantly longer to recover from based on a variety of factors. If he does not have a concussion, then that could affect his return to play timeline, but we won’t know until he is cleared. 
  • The doctors, medical staff, players, family, team, etc. will not try to game the system in order to get him to play. If he plays, he’s good to go, if he’s not, then he’s not. There’s no gray area with this decision.

We simply need more information on his head injury and see how he responds in practice this week. As for his toe, that’s where things are a little more clear. He injured the left toe when he was swung backwards on his second touchdown of the day, planting his left foot behind him, bending the toe back suddenly. He was quickly evaluated on the sidelines and eventually returned. He is likely dealing with turf toe based on the area the team was looking at and reports coming out.

He may be limited with general mobility, but this won’t affect him as a passer and only really affect him as a runner, though this late in the year, he was going to play no matter what. It also appears mild enough that it’s just another thing to play through. 

Credit: SPTNY.com

If this hasn’t already felt like the longest week ever, it certainly is considering this article is being released on Tuesday. Take a deep breath and watch the injury reports this week. I expect the Bills to put whoever they can on the report for gamesmanship. I expect Mahomes to be in concussion protocol all week. Things won’t be clear until Friday/Saturday and even then, there still may be uncertainty. Regardless of who plays and who doesn’t play, the Bills have already and will have to continue to beat extremely talented teams to make it to the Super Bowl and win. Enjoy the moment, it’s been a long wait.

Top Photo Credit: Pro Football Focus