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.
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.
- Patrick Mahomes was evaluated for a concussion Sunday.
- Patrick Mahomes has entered the concussion protocol according to the team.
- You do not have to have a concussion to be in the concussion protocol.
- Any questionable hit, visible signs of concussion, or anything that suggests there may be a head injury warrants a concussion assessment.
- 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.
- 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.
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