The Bills are still in the playoff hunt! Despite losing to the New England Patriots 37-16 Sunday, the Bills still have a very realistic shot at ending the long suffering playoff drought. With a win at Miami along with a Ravens loss to Cincinnati, or losses by the Chargers to the Raiders and Titans to the Jaguars, the Bills can enter the playoffs with an actual shot at winning the Super Bowl! While it is an incredible long shot, just making the playoffs is a step in the right direction. Regardless of the playoff implications, players continue to get injured leading to constant changes to the roster.
The only major injury sustained during Sunday’s game was to RB Travaris Cadet with a gruesome ankle dislocation/fracture. This occurred during a routine play late in the 2nd quarter in which he got wrapped around as he tackled while his foot got caught up underneath. The play ended with Cadet lying on his stomach with his ankle lying at an unnatural 90 degrees to the right. While not surprising, Cadet did suffer a dislocation and fracture to the right ankle which landed him on IR for the rest of the season.
During a dislocation of the ankle, the foot becomes dislodged from the area that articulates with the tibia/fibula and is pulled out of alignment. Due to the forces associated with this injury along with the rotational forces in play, the outside portion of the ankle (lateral malleolus) which is the bottom portion of the fibula broke. Had he solely dislocated like former Bills CB Ronald Darby during the season opener, he may have been able to return at a later date in the playoffs. As it was fractured, he is done for the season. While on the field, he has his ankle relocated and placed into a compression sleeve to maintain stability and manage swelling. He will require surgery to stabilize the fibula with the use of a plate and screws while assessing for any other damage. As there are so many variations of types and location for the hardware to be placed, it is difficult to obtain an accurate picture to the procedure he is going to have. He should be able to make a full recovery for 2018 to continue to build off the solid season he had this year.
Others injured during the game included WR Deonte Thompson (back) and CB Micah Hyde (abdomen/chest). Thompson was hit from behind early in the 2nd quarter and had to leave the field from several plays. He was eventually able to return but would be expected to end up on the injury report on Wednesday. Hyde managed to tackle TE Rob Gronkowski late in the 3rd quarter and got a hard heel to the chest/abdomen area. Hyde appeared in acute distress but was able to return. It appeared as though he had the wind knocked out of him but was able to return.
Other injuries to note include WR Andre Holmes going to IR due to a lingering neck injury. This injury was sustained during the Colts game and while Holmes was able to play the next week, but at some point aggravated it at which time the team decided that he needed to be shut down. As of right now, it is unknown what occurred to his neck. I continue to maintain that he strained his neck in some fashion and it was not healing as quickly as expected. Up until being ruled inactive this week, he had been involved in ~20% of the offensive plays and ~65% of special teams plays which indicate lack of serious injury. The WR corps was thin at the beginning of the season; it continues to be hurt by injuries but the impact has been limited secondary to the anemic passing game. Hopefully with a better QB next year will allow the receivers to blossom and improve the offense vastly.
The injury report comes out tomorrow as it does every Wednesday and I expect TE Charles Clay (knee), WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), and DT Kyle Williams (groin) to remain on the report but not expected to miss any time. As always, there are new additions but thankfully, the team continues to be relatively healthy with the idea that the team still can make the playoffs.
It is hard to believe this is Week 17 and the Bills are still in the mix. It has been 13 years since they have played a meaningful Week 17 game with playoff implications. There are many things that can happen Sunday, but one thing is clear: this team has talent to contend in the NFL, but it is far away from contending from championships. Even though the AFC is weak this year, 6 teams still have to make the playoffs and the Bills potentially are one of them.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and for those Bills fans that don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you enjoyed your holidays and continue to enjoy this rare playoff push. Whatever comes of Sunday’s game, I can look forward to next season with the idea that the front office and coaching staff have a plan in place to execute and bring the Bills back to glory.
Continue to check back for the latest articles and updates regarding Bills injuries. For breaking news and thoughts on new injuries, follow me on Twitter @kyletrimble88. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!