Week 13 Bills Injury Review- Cowboys

How healthy will be Bills be heading into Week 14?

How bout dem Bills!! McDermott & crew landed in Dallas with questions about how good they were despite their 8-3 record. They leave Dallas with a 9-3 record after having shown 32 million people why they should be taken seriously. Outside of that opening Dallas drive that ended with a score, Buffalo then took control & never looked back, walking away with a 26-15 victory. On top of that, the Bills didn’t even suffer any notable injuries compared to the Cowboys coming into the game beat up & left even worse with Connor Williams going down with a torn ACL & Amari Cooper getting knocked out with a knee injury. Despite there being no significant injuries for the Bills, there are still several players to review as the final stretch of the season ramps up. 

S Micah Hyde (left leg)

Hyde sent a scare into Bills fans early on when he was tended to by trainers late in the 1st quarter. On replay with :38 left, it appeared that he got kicked or had his lower leg hit as he attempted to complete the tackle during the play. He was attended to by the trainers, slightly favoring the left leg as he walked off. He was briefly getting replaced by S Kurt Coleman for 1 play before returning for the rest of the game. Considering he returned so quickly, I don’t anticipate this being a concern moving forward, especially with the extra few days to recover. 

WR Robert Foster (right hamstring)

Foster was a surprise activation for Thursday’s game despite dealing with a right hamstring injury sustained in the win over the Broncos. He was questionable going into the game but managed to suit up & be quite effective. The fact that he was active bucked the trend of the conservative approach that the team takes towards hamstrings. This doesn’t mean that the team is making poor decisions, it just shows that there are variables when managing these injuries.

Either he suffered cramping during Sunday’s game & was fine for Thursday or he really only sustained a mild strain that allowed him to play through. He was able to play in 42% of the offensive snaps with 2 targets for 1 reception for 20 yards & 43% snaps on special teams. Foster also drew a key defensive pass interference early in the 1st quarter which helped keep the drive alive but did not result in any points. 

Regardless, Foster did his job & will have extra time to rest between now & December 8th when the Bills host the talented Baltimore Ravens. 

C Mitch Morse (right 5th digit)

Morse didn’t appear fazed by his finger injury which led him to be questionable heading into Thursday’s matchup. He was able to play in 100% of the offensive snaps & seemed able to handle his duties as normal. I don’t anticipate that this injury will linger & with the extra time off, this should be a non-factor heading into Week 14.

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

Nsekhe missed his 2nd straight game with the sprained ankle sustained in the win over the Dolphins. While he wasn’t active as expected, Marcel Louis-Jacques reported that Nsekhe made the trip down to Dallas to support his teammates. The significance of this is that Nsekhe was observed walking, albeit, with a noticeable limp but without a boot on following the game. 

This is promising to indicate that his swelling & pain appear to be improving, requiring less use of the walking boot. Considering he is still limping walking around, this means that he is still a ways off before returning. He will have to be walking pain-free & begin practicing on the sidelines before it is even considered that he returns to playing. I have not examined him but I don’t really see where he practices next week & misses the Baltimore game.

It’s possible that he resumes practice for the Steelers game with him going through the paces & at best ruled questionable. He could be active at that point but be used as an emergency backup if needed. A more realistic return may be in time for the Patriots game where he would be closer to 100% & be effective as a rotational player. He would have missed 4 weeks which isn’t unreasonable for an injury such as this. This timeline could obviously change as his practice status is updated, but this is what I believe will be a realistic approach in his recovery. 

The Bills are 9-3, a win away from double-digit wins for the first time in 20 years. There are more than several ample opportunities to win with possible chances over Baltimore & New England with higher probabilities over Pittsburgh & New York. This is a fantastic feeling to have, I really don’t know what to do with myself! This could end in 5 weeks in the Wild Card round, this could end in the conference championship, hell, even the Super Bowl. Right now, I’m ready to believe anything. This kind of success has long eluded this fan base & it’s about time we finally got to enjoy something. I’m looking forward to this next month win, lose, or draw. 

Top Photo Credit:

Bloggingtheboys.com

Week 13 Bills Injury Preview- Cowboys

How are the Bills looking as they go down south?

The Bills travel down to Dallas with a lot at stake. Win, move to 9-3 & gain the national “respect” that they deserve? Or lose, drop to 8-4, and have continued questions whether they are actually a playoff-caliber team. With both teams playing on short weeks, this game will come down to who makes fewer mistakes & can capitalize on the opportunities given to them. Fortunately, the Bills are far healthier than the Cowboys & can make the most with their roster to secure a win before hosting Baltimore in Week 14. 

OUT

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

Nsekhe continues to work back from the sprained ankle suffered in the win over the Dolphins. He missed the Broncos game & won’t be back for the foreseeable future. He will continue to rehab & begin working on increasing his workloads to eventually return to practice with the hopes that he returns before the Patriots or Jets game. 

QUESTIONABLE

C Mitch Morse (right 5th digit)

Morse appeared to jam his right 5th digit or pinky on a play late in the 1st quarter, striking his hand into the ground towards the end of the play, coming up & grabbing at the area. He was unable to return for the rest of the game but was at times observed snapping to QB Matt Barkley & getting his finger buddy taped to the ring finger for support. He is likely dealing with some minor loss of range of motion, pain, & swelling. It also doesn’t help that 40% of grip strength comes from the muscles that move the 5th digit, significantly limiting Morse’s ability to grip & snap the ball. 

It’s possible he broke his finger, but without clear video, hard to say. However, he has been limited Monday-Wednesday with the finger injury, indicating that this may not be the case. It is very possible that he still plays with the fingers buddy taped together for support to play effectively. If he is unable to go or re-injures the finger, then G Jon Feliciano would slide back over with G Spencer Long taking his place.

WR Robert Foster (right hamstring)

Foster suffered a right hamstring injury on his biggest play of the day Sunday on a 24-yard catch & run down the sideline. Unfortunately, he got pushed out, forcing him to catch himself on his right side from falling over. As he was doing this, he was decelerating, regrettably overloading the eccentrically contracting hamstring and he suffered a strain. The team has been incredibly conservative with hamstring injuries this season with great success. 

Despite practicing in a limited role Tuesday & Wednesday, soft tissue injuries need time to heal up & with 5 days between games, the time simply is not there. As Foster is ruled questionable, WR Duke Williams will likely get the start after 4 games inactive. Hopefully, Foster’s strain is a minor one & he can return to play against Baltimore. 

CLEARED TO PLAY

S Siran Neal (concussion)

Neal managed to progress through the concussion protocol quickly, only missing the Dolphins game & not practicing at all last week. Last we knew, he was in Stage 2 of the protocol going through a pregame workout on Sunday. For him to progress to practicing in full & clearing the protocol is promising, indicating that he will resume as a vital cog in the special teams play.  

Possible Inactive’s:

TE Tommy Sweeney

DT Vincent Taylor

WR Robert Foster

OT Ty Nsekhe

S Dean Marlowe

RB TJ Yeldon

OG Ike Boettger

There isn’t much to discuss moving forward other than the Bills have to go down to Dallas & take care of business. Ideally, the Bills move to 9-3, shutting up the critics as the Bills march towards the playoffs despite a tough stretch of games. Either way, the Bills have taken care of business, winning the games they need to & putting themselves into opportune positions, rather than relying on others screwing up for the Bills to have a favorable outcome. Bills Mafia, enjoy your Thanksgiving & GO BILLS!!

Week 12 Bills Injury Review- Broncos

Are Morse & Beasley going to play Thursday?

No one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills! Circle the wagons they did with a convincing win over the Denver Broncos 20-3 on Sunday at New Era Field! From my observations, I did not see a play, series, or point in time where the Broncos were ever in control. It was not a blowout but a rather convincing win to move the Bills to 8-3, the best mark through 12 games since 1996. Think about where you were at that time; I was 8 & still watched Power Rangers. The original ones, with Jason the Green Power Ranger. Yea, that takes you back. 

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Credit: https://powerrangers.fandom.com/

Anyway, it’s a great feeling to be 8-3 with a march towards the playoffs despite a tough schedule in the coming weeks. However, to make matters difficult, the Bills have to turn around and play Thursday in prime-time against the Dallas Cowboys. Thankfully, the Bills did not suffer a major injury which gives them a better shot to compete. Below are the injuries from Sunday.

C Mitch Morse (right 5th digit)

Morse suffered a right 5th digit or pinky finger injury with 1:56 left in the 1st quarter when Broncos DE Von Miller sacked QB Josh Allen for a 5-yard loss. Morse was engaged with his blocker before falling down, landing with his right hand. He came up grabbing it & did not return for the rest of the day. He was later observed on the sideline practicing snapping to QB Matt Barkley, then going to the locker room before halftime.

I did manage to see that his 4th & 5th digits on his right hand were buddy taped indicating that he possibly jammed his finger when he fell down. To note, this is the hand that he snaps with. He did not return to play in the game but appeared to be available in case of injury. Suffering an injury to the 5th digit or pinky is crucial to Morse’s ability to play. Having pain or weakness in the hypothenar eminence which is the intrinsic hand muscles that account for 40% of grip strength really affects his ability to snap the ball. Think how painful it is when you can’t fully use your hand after it’s been hit. Now try to fully grip & squeeze an NFL football. 

It’s not to say that he couldn’t come back, but with OG Jon Feliciano as a very capable backup, there wasn’t a need for him to return. Morse stated after the game that he would take it day-to-day and that he should be fine. All he will need is some brief rehab to make sure he has full motion & strength return, possibly buddy tape the area for support & be able to play Thursday.

WR Cole Beasley (left ankle)

Beasley scared everyone when he went down late in the 2nd quarter on a designed run play by RB Devin Singletary. Beasley was blocking his assigned man when Broncos LB Todd Davis kicked his left ankle out from under him while diving trying to tackle Singletary. Beasley was in obvious pain & quickly attended to by trainers on the field. He was able to walk off under his own power & eventually return, scoring a TD in the 3rd quarter.

He finished the day 6-76-1, signaling that his ankle contusion was not going to be a problem. Like Morse, he may require brief rehab, more for pain & possible swelling in preparation for Thursday. He could possibly wear a compression sleeve under his sock but I see no scenario in where he doesn’t play against his former team Thursday.

WR Robert Foster (right hamstring)

Foster finally broke out with by far his best game in an overall disappointing season with a 22-yard run followed by a 24-yard catch in the 3rd quarter in where he was injured. He managed to catch the ball with 14:17 left in the 3rd quarter, streaking down the sideline before getting pushed out by Broncos S Justin Simmons. Foster was forced to load up his right leg to account for the sudden hit & attempted to slow down. Unfortunately, as he decelerated, he suffered what appeared to be pulled hamstring, requiring assistance from the training staff to get off the field. 

This is a common way to suffer a hamstring injury & his return was questionable, but he did not return the rest of the game. It’s possible that he was dealing with cramping in the area, but considering how he suffered the injury, it appears to be more of a strain. Barring a miraculous recovery, I do not see him suiting up Thursday against the Cowboys. Fortunately, the Bills have WR Duke Williams who is healthy & quite eager to play, having been inactive the past 4 games. 

Foster may miss the Baltimore game based on past hamstring management by the team, but considering he will have extra time to rest & rehab, there’s an outside chance he returns. We will have to see how available he is in practice following the Cowboys game.

Other notes:

As expected, OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle) & S Siran Neal (concussion) were ruled out before Sunday. Nsekhe is nowhere near being ready to play & had shown on Instagram that he was getting rehab daily, seen below. Neal is in Stage 2 of the concussion protocol & it is unknown if he will progress fast enough to be ready to play Thursday. 

DE Jerry Hughes was held off the stat sheet Sunday by Broncos OT Garett Bolles & dealing with a groin injury. Hughes was able to provide some pressure today but overall didn’t have the impact that he typically has in the game. It’s possible that his groin may be slowing him, it’s not something I can clearly see on film. Either way, I still expect him to play Thursday because he’s playing already, why not play Thursday & then he will get 9 days off.

On a special note, congratulations to RB Frank Gore who ran into 3rd place on the NFL all-time rushing yards list. He passed the immortal Barry Sanders & continues to show everyone how the job gets done. The career he has had despite all the early injuries including ACL tears to both knees in college before entering the NFL. From a fan perspective, it’s incredible watching historic events such as that.

The Bills will have practice this week like usual but it will obviously be condensed. I expect most practices to be walkthroughs as they heal their bodies up. Besides Foster, there shouldn’t be any big losses unless someone developed concussion symptoms after the game. It will be a quick 3-day turnaround before the Bills play on Thanksgiving. By Wednesday, there will be a much clearer injury picture heading to Dallas.

Top Photo Credit:

Rochesterfirst.com