This wasn’t an article I wanted to write. I wasn’t in a rush to write this either. It’s not that I didn’t want to write about the injuries, but I didn’t want to write about the end of the season, at least not with that ending. That game was full of emotions, the excitement of that first drive ending in a touchdown, the Houston comeback, the game-tying field goal & inevitable loss. It just sucked to see such a great season the Bills have an end like this. But it ended and that’s the reality of the situation.
However, there were still injuries that occurred & I have a duty to explain what exactly happened.
CB Taron Johnson (lower-body injury)
Johnson exited the game midway through the 2nd quarter with 7:30 left with what appeared at the time no apparent reason. He was observed down on his right knee after the play with trainers assessing him before walking off under his own power.
Reviewing the game film, it was not apparent that he suffered an injury until the All-22 film came out. Upon reviewing the film, Johnson stuck with his man, TE Darren Fells until he got to the sideline. Fells cut back, as did Johnson rather vigorously and he appeared to take an awkward step on his right, which forced him to slow up as the play ended. Nothing appeared wrong until Johnson was down in the middle of the field before he went off.
My best guess due to having only one camera angle and a birds-eye view is that he suffered some type of strain. Possibly a groin, hamstring, or calf. To note, he wasn’t limping off at all from what I could tell, but something wasn’t right. If you recall, Johnson did suffer a hamstring strain back in the 1st game which ultimately cost him 4 games. Temperatures were in the 70’s at kickoff & the dome was closed, leading to a warm environment, raising the possibility for a strain due to dehydration. I do not believe the hamstring he suffered back in September caused the issues on Saturday.
Regardless of what it was, we probably won’t know until OTA’s start or if an article comes out later detailing the specifics. This isn’t anything that should be a problem heading into next year either.
WR Duke Williams (left low ankle sprain)
Shortly after Johnson suffered his injury, Williams had one of his own catching a diving pass from QB Josh Allen before going out of bounds with about 2:30 left in the 2nd quarter. It was a bang-bang play & required several replays to determine the injury. At first, it appeared that Williams hyperextended his left knee as his foot got caught in the turf, diving out.
However, on further review, it clearly shows that his left ankle twists in quickly, causing the all too common inversion low ankle sprain. Williams took several plays off to get his ankle evaluated and taped before returning, at times favoring the ankle with a decreased ability to push off.
Williams avoided a worse knee injury due to the ankle taking the brunt of the forces going out, snapping underneath instead of applying further pressure on the knee into extension. He will likely be feeling this ankle for a few weeks & possibly the knee but like most sprains, this won’t be an issue moving forward & had the Bills won, probably wouldn’t have kept him out next week.
CB Levi Wallace & WR Robert Foster
There were several surprise inactives prior to the game, namely CB Levi Wallace & WR Robert Foster. Wallace was a surprise to me only because he was practicing, although on a limited basis with a heavily taped ankle, during the week. I had thought that even an injured Wallace would be able to play in some packages, but my guess is that the team felt he would be better suited to play next week had they made it.
Foster was a surprise only because of how valuable he has become as a gunner on special teams & was continually a deep threat, despite not connecting on anything all season. Considering the lack of production from Foster, it made sense to make Williams active, but thankfully the special team’s play wasn’t harmed by the loss of Foster.
DE JJ Watt
Houston’s DE JJ Watt made some noise as I had expected him too, appearing in 61% of the defensive plays along with 2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, & 2 QB hits. I believe he played far more than the original plan dictated, but this is why he suited up, to make a difference & he did. Far from his best performance, but those skills he has, even with one arm, still made him incredibly dangerous on Saturday & the Bills paid for it.
QB Josh Allen
During the Bills locker cleaning out Sunday, there was a video that came out of Allen walking across the fieldhouse in flip flops & an ankle brace on his right ankle. It was not known when he injured his ankle during the game as he appeared in every offensive play Saturday. This likely was one of those small injuries that would be impossible to find on film & won’t be anything that should linger.
I had briefly thought that this was the result of the injury he suffered in the loss to the Ravens last month. However, this occurred to the left ankle in that game & he was able to play through it. Merely an observation & just another one of the battle scars that Allen accumulated throughout the season in the march towards the playoffs.
Like I said above, this wasn’t an article that I wanted to write. But it had to be done. This ends the 2019 Buffalo Bills season & I’m pretty happy with the overall results. 10 wins, a playoff berth not given by sheer luck, tons of growth by the entire team & a bright future. I’m looking forward to 2020 with the idea that this Bills team can make a run. I’m a Bills fan, an eternal optimist, is there any other way to be?
Looking at the offseason, there will be some changes. I plan on taking some time off from weekly Banged Up Bills articles, only focusing on updates such as the inevitable surgeries, free agent signings, & any other news I deem worthy to report. Things will gear up again once the draft hits & the 90 man roster begins to take shape prior to training camp. I’m going to continue to work hard to update the appearance of the site, video reviews, injury breakdowns, & find new ways to deliver the content that is clearly wanted.
However, you can still follow on Twitter for the latest news, podcasts & work I will be doing with the draft. Find my work over at Cover 1 detailing injuries regarding the 2020 draft prospects. Make sure to go check that out & all the other amazing content that’s available. Thanks, Bills Mafia, it was a fun season!
Top Photo Credit: