2020 Wild Card Weekend Bills Injury Review- Colts

The Bills lose Zack Moss for the playoffs, how serious is the ankle injury?

The Buffalo Bills have done it!! They have secured a playoff win for the first time since 1995 over the Indianapolis Colts 27-24! While it wasn’t a win that was as dominating as it has been in recent weeks, it’s the playoffs, and blowout wins are far from expected as we saw this weekend. 

Coming into the game, the Bills were fairly healthy with only Cole Beasley and Stefon Diggs being the big concerns. Both ended up playing with varying degrees of effectiveness. Beasley led the team in receptions and moved the chains despite playing through obvious pain, Diggs led in receiving yards and added a touchdown.

Fortunately, the Bills ended the game with only one significant injury as they look to prepare for next week against the Baltimore Ravens. Check out the recap below.

In-game injuries:

T Dion Dawkins (Undisclosed)

Dawkins left the field briefly, going to the locker room early in the 2nd quarter before returning moments later adjusting his equipment. Looking at the video, there doesn’t appear to be anything to note injury-wise on film and he didn’t miss any offensive snaps during the time he was away. 

Unless he shows up on the injury report with a designation, this one’s a mystery. 

RB Zack Moss (Left ankle)

Moss went down with a rough-looking left ankle injury at the beginning of the 4th quarter, requiring the cart to leave the field. Upon review, his left foot gets caught between a lot of bodies and the ground with his foot turned out. This was a clear mechanism for a likely high ankle sprain and he was in obvious pain. The cart was required to get him off the field and does not always equal severity, but the inability to get to the locker room himself required the use of the cart.

Initial reports that came out after the game indicate that Moss’s postseason may be over but the possibility to return if there is a deep playoff run. This further supported the possible high ankle sprain observed on video. Even with a full week off, it would have been incredibly difficult to even attempt to play through this injury. There is considerable instability and swelling in the ankle and he would have a very difficult time generating force from the ankle/foot complex. 

However, reports came out Monday stating that his season was over but that he avoided a major injury according to his agent. There is the possibility that he may require surgery which is indicated for significant high ankle sprains, but no official determination on the intervention has been made yet. 

If Moss avoids surgery, he could take roughly 6-8 weeks to return to full health. If he requires surgery, it could take upwards of 6 months but most likely less than that to fully recover. With either timeline, he would still be fully ready for training camp. Based on the damage, he could realistically participate in most of OTA’s with potentially little to no restrictions.

Credit: ChrisButlerSportsPT.wordpress.com

There is the possibility that he could receive the Tightrope procedure that the Alabama Crimson Tide medical staff has popularized, but that hasn’t been generally accepted as a regular surgery in the NFL as of yet. If he does receive this procedure, there is a chance that he could rehabilitate quicker, but this won’t be known unless it is reported.

It’s a tough pill to swallow for Moss and the Bills, but they do have Devin Singletary as the lead back in the interim. They also have TJ Yeldon, Antonio Williams, and even Taiwan Jones as options, though Jones has exclusively been on special teams. They hypothetically could bring in someone from an eliminated team’s practice squad, but to have 4 days to prepare could be a large task. It’s an unfortunate injury, but something the Bills must deal with. 

Other observations:

WR Cole Beasley (Left knee)

Beasley “toughed it out” to play Saturday with 7 receptions for 57 yards but at times came up clearly limping around. Watching him trying to move the chains posed the question of whether it was worth it for him to suit up to play, but he did. He was mainly a possession receiver, catching the ball and then going down relatively soon after the catch. I did count two plays where he tried to get some extra yardage but he didn’t break any long runs like I suspected that he would have difficulty with. 

Unless he injured the knee further Saturday, I would expect that he doesn’t practice all week or is significantly limited except for Thursday and then do it all over again Saturday. It was also noted that he was wearing a brace under his pants to provide extra stability to the joint.

It’s the playoffs, he was going to gut it out in order to do whatever it took to win. That was my only argument as to whether he would play or not. It was evident that he probably would have not played had it been a regular-season game. 

There didn’t appear to be any other notable injuries from Saturday’s game but there will likely be some surprises on the injury report. Stefon Diggs was highly effective and the oblique injury he was dealing with did not appear to be a factor at all. This will be an incredibly long week as the Bills prepare to host the Ravens in primetime on Saturday for the right to move to the AFC Championship against the winner of the Chiefs-Browns game. I’d assume the Chiefs would be the opponent, but the way the Browns handled the Steelers Sunday, anything can happen. 

We will be watching both the Bills and Ravens injury report this week to identify any possible competitive advantages heading into Saturday. 

Top Photo Credit: Yardbarker.com

RB Antonio Williams Injury Profile

#35 Antonio Williams

Position: RB
Height/Weight: 5’11”/215 lbs.
Age: 22
College: North Carolina
Year joined Bills: 2020
Acquired: UDFA

College Injuries:

2016 Ohio State Freshman year:

No publicly reported injuries.

2017 Ohio State Sophomore year:

Hamstring strain, spring practices

2018 North Carolina Junior year:

No publicly reported injuries.

2019 North Carolina Senior year:

No publicly reported injuries.

Pro Injuries:

2020 Bills:

No publicly reported injuries.

General links:

RB Antonio Williams Injury Profile

Bills 2020 Training Camp Injury Preview: Running Back/Fullback

The RB/FB room is full of youth & leadership. Can it produce in 2020?

This is Part 2 of the Buffalo Bills training camp preview revisiting injuries from 2019 & the impact it may have on their performance and availability in 2020. Part 2 consists of the running back/fullback room.

Not Returning

RB Frank Gore

16 games, 8 started, 166 attempts, 599 yards, 2 TD’s, 16 targets, 13 receptions, 100 yards

The future Hall of Famer ran towards football immortality with his latest stop in Buffalo in 2019. While he is not the bell cow back he once was, he still provided an excellent change of pace for rookie RB Devin Singletary. Gore was able to carry the load early on but his age and the season caught up with him as Singletary took more of the load. 

In addition, Gore was excellent at avoiding injury, only taking a shot to the head early in the season in the win over the Giants. He was evaluated by the medical staff and eventually returned, but that was all that could be identified injury-wise. As Gore has moved onto the Jets for 2020, his absence is hopefully replaced by a more effective back. 

Returning Players

RB Devin Singletary

12 games, 8 starts, 151 attempts, 775 yards, 2 TD’s, 41 targets 29 receptions, 194 yards, 2 TD’s, 4 fumbles

Following his first season in the NFL, Singletary lit up the Bills running attack despite playing in the season as Frank Gore began to wear down, establishing himself as the feature back as the Bills only 3/4ths of the team’s regular-season games. He progressed in the second half of the march towards the playoffs. In addition, he managed to stay fairly healthy despite a hamstring strain early in the season.

    • Left hamstring

Singletary suffered a hamstring strain while trying to pick up additional yardage late in the 4th quarter against the Giants. His day was done and as a result, missed the next 3 games and 4 weeks in total due to the bye week. While hamstring strains are not totally preventable, he did not have a recurrence of the injury later in the season.

There is concern that he could suffer another hamstring strain later, especially while ramping up to the regular season, but the fact that he is doing work now according to Instagram states that he will be at lower risk rather than if he was sitting on his couch all offseason. It also helps that Singletary is used to a high workload coming out of college which helps him to avoid injury as he does not risk overworking his body to meet the demands of the NFL.

RB TJ Yeldon

6 games, 17 attempts, 63 yards, 15 targets, 13 receptions, 124 yards 1 fumble

Yeldon wasn’t much of a factor during the season, playing in the first 5 games following a string of inactive designations before playing in the season finale against the Jets. Yeldon did not appear to suffer any known injuries but the lack of play was far more telling of his talent than availability. 

GM Brandon Beane has described Yeldon as a 3-down back, but in this current Bills offense, Yeldon is lucky to get on the field for even one down. The lack of injuries may play well to where he can be traded in case of other needs on the team or can slide into a backup role in the event of an injury in the running back room.

FB Patrick DiMarco

16 games, 4 starts, 3 attempts, 7 yards, 7 targets, 5 receptions, 41 yards

DiMarco, a special teams captain, once again had more emphasis as a leader in the locker room and on special teams than he did in an offensive role. The stats above clearly indicate that. In addition, he also suffered several injuries that were overall minor.

    • Concussion

DiMarco was a surprise addition to the injury report following the loss to the Patriots early in the season. He was able to play the entirety of the game but likely had concussion-related symptoms following the game, leading to him entering the protocol that week. He was limited during practice that week but was able to return to play the following week against the Titans.

    • Right ankle contusion/sprain

DiMarco also suffered a right ankle contusion/sprain during the first Miami game in which he had a flurry of bodies come down on his ankle, dropping him to the turf. Fortunately, his toe was pointed down and this allowed his ankle to avoid a high ankle sprain due to getting locked into eversion and dorsiflexion. He was able to resume playing, albeit likely hurting.

DiMarco is at risk to suffer another concussion in the future, but this appears to be a mild one. This doesn’t reduce his risk any more than it is now but is something to watch as training camp nears.  

RB Christian Wade

Wade, the former rugby star converted to NFL running back, spent his time on the practice squad last season as an international exemption. While he did flash during the few times he touched the ball in the preseason, he was far from ready to see action in a meaningful NFL game. He did not suffer any known injuries.

New to the roster

RB Zack Moss

A physical back out of Utah, Moss takes the place of the departed Gore. While Moss does have a variety of injury concerns, he comes to the Bills healthy and also used to a heavy workload, thereby reducing his risk to suffer overuse injuries as he transitions to the NFL. His detailed injury analysis can be found at Cover 1 and also at Buffalo Rumblings.  

RB Antonio Williams

Williams, a former back that played for both Ohio State & North Carolina, comes to the Bills as a UDFA. He enters the NFL fairly healthy with only a hamstring strain to his name while at Ohio State. You can read his full injury analysis here at Banged Up Bills.

FB Reggie Gilliam

Gilliam, the Toledo special teams standout, finds himself squarely behind DiMarco at the fullback position. One thing that Gilliam has over DiMarco is fewer miles on his body and far fewer injuries. However, experience and a captain’s designation still get DiMarco places in the NFL. Read up on Gilliam’s injury analysis at Buffalo Rumblings

2020 Outlook

The only locks on the team are Singletary, Moss, & DiMarco. Strong cases can be made for Yeldon & Wade, though Wade has a spot on the practice squad barring an unbelievable training camp. Williams & Gilliam are longshots, but an injury could help them find a roster spot in Buffalo. Both have strong cases to make the practice squad, but with how the practice squad rules change due to the new CBA & Covid-19, this could mean they still have a shot. 

The RB room is incredibly young & cheap which allows the Bills to maximize production while putting money elsewhere in their attempts to make deep postseason runs. Both Singletary & Moss are used to heavy workloads which in turn should help keep them available barring any freak accidents. Overall, there are no concerns as a group moving forward. 

2020 UDFA: Buffalo Bills RB Antonio Williams injury analysis

Does Williams have any injury concerns going into 2020?

New Bills RB Antonio Williams had a college career that was not quite he envisioned as he stepped on Ohio State’s campus back in 2016. The 4-star product from North Carolina never really got off the ground in Columbus, seeing occasional play over two seasons. After getting passed on the depth chart by RB JK Dobbins & RB Mike Webber, Williams found himself as an odd man out after 2017 and transferred to North Carolina.

During his time in Chapel Hill, he began to get playing time with 504 yards and 5 TD’s in 2018, followed by 322 yards and 3 TD’s his senior year. Though he did not get drafted, the potential is still there for Williams to make his mark at the next level. 

Collegiate Injury History

Between Williams’ time at both Ohio State and North Carolina, the only known injury that Williams suffered was a pulled hamstring during spring practices in 2017. There is little information on the specifics, but this did not help his chances going into the 2017 season which ultimately pushed him down the depth chart and searching for a new home. 

During his time closer to home, he did not appear to suffer any known injuries, appearing in 22 games over 2 years. While he is not immune to injury, his power running style could lend himself to injury if he finds himself in the backfield for the Bills in 2020.

Bills Injury Impact

Williams appears in the same position as he was at Ohio State. He has RB’s Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, TJ Yeldon, and Taiwan Jones all ahead of him for playing time. There is little concern for any re-aggravation of a hamstring injury, but considering Williams does not have the ability to go through live reps at OTA’s and must train on his own for if and when training camp starts, this does not bode well for him.

Williams may also be a developmental piece at best, but considering the top two backs are on rookie deals, it seems as though Williams is a long shot to make this roster. He is one player that must get solid preseason tape out there in order to find himself in an NFL facility come 2020.