2020 Week 14 Bills Injury Review- Steelers

What is going on with Morse, Knox, and Johnson?

These are the Buffalo Bills that I’ve waited to cheer for since I converted to my fandom to full-fledged Bills membership many years ago. To see this organization win as they have and know that they are not mortgaging the future to win now is incredibly pleasing. This continues to be a week-to-week league and the Bills have shown that they can get the job done nearly every week. The true test will be the playoffs, maximizing the winning window that Buffalo has not had in nearly a generation.

While a 10-3 start is incredible, the Bills still need to secure the AFC East to get a home playoff game and potentially control who they play in the postseason. After a rough portion of the season where injuries beget injuries, the Bills are getting healthy at the right time. Thankfully there were injuries that did not lead to any concern for the remaining schedule. 

C Mitch Morse (left elbow)

Morse exited the game for several series after sustaining a left elbow injury during the second Bills drive. He was observed on the sidelines getting his elbow taped up. This tape job was performed to limit hyperextension to the elbow according to a Twitter follower who happens to be an ATC below. This could have been protecting the distal biceps required for elbow flexion or it could have been protecting from elbow hyperextension if he had gotten hit up underneath the arm. 

Looking at the film, it’s not clear when he suffered the injury. I didn’t see a specific instance where he gets his elbow hit that required attention. He was wearing bracing before the injury occurred and has often worn bracing to the area in general. The type of bracing did not change after indicating that the taping may have needed to be replaced. 

Credit: Buffalo News

He was able to return after some time off and testing the area on the sidelines though it did initially appear at times he had trouble engaging blocks with his left arm. Pain and swelling are likely to present which may have been more of a factor in getting things taped back up after examination of the area. 

I’m not certain that he will miss any time with this injury as he was able to return and the elbow is a stable joint limiting further injury. Add in bracing/tape and he should continue to play through this ailment. This one will be one to watch on the injury report this week but I’m not concerned long term.

TE Dawson Knox (stinger)

Knox startled everyone by grabbing at his head and falling to the turf shortly after a routine block in the 3rd quarter. Fortunately, he was able to walk off under his own power and the initial pain appeared to subside. Based on how he was grabbing his neck/right trapezius on the sidelines, I had thought he suffered a stinger due to how he was hit. He was later reported as having a stinger, confirming my thoughts.

Stingers occur when there is a sudden compression or stretch to the cervical nerves that branch off the neck. This can cause a temporary intense shock down the nerves of the neck that can be felt down the arm in some cases. This can be the result of the nerve getting compressed coming out between the cervical vertebrae or this could be the result of a herniated or bulging disc in the area pressing on the nerve. Stingers typically don’t last long and aren’t recurrent unless there are underlying issues such as a disc issue like we saw happen with Eric Wood back in 2017. I am not implying that to be the case, rather just to give context to the situation. 

Credit: AAFP.org

Like Morse, he also sat out briefly before returning and creating several plays later that helped cement the win for the Bills. This injury isn’t something that I expect to see on the injury report unless he is dealing with continued soreness to the area or there are persistent symptoms. 

CB Taron Johnson (concussion)

Johnson was downgraded to out in the 3rd quarter with a concussion while trying to tackle Steelers back James Conner. He was whisked away to the blue medical tent for further evaluation and eventually to the locker room where they officially diagnosed him with a concussion. 

From what I’ve found, this is Johnson’s first documented NFL concussion. They take on average 7-10 days to recover from which means his timeline to play Saturday against the Broncos isn’t great. He could pass through the protocol quickly but isn’t likely considering the research. I don’t anticipate him playing Sunday and based on the severity, only time will tell how much he will really miss. Until Johnson returns, Siran Neal will likely get increased playing time. 

Other thoughts:

QB Josh Allen (right knee)

Allen continues to work back from his right knee injury still sporting the hinged brace. His 6 rushes for 28 yards is an uptick from last week and he showed a greater ability to use the entire field to run as needed. He had an effective run to the left, showing the ability to push off his right leg and overall showed greater confidence. 

LB Matt Milano (Left pectoral)

Milano performed well last week seeing 19 snaps before increasing his total snaps increase to 27 which was 47% of the total snaps. He continues to wrap offensive players up with greater ability and show why his presence improves the defensive performance. 

I’m unsure what the team will do with playing time as AJ Klein has shown an ability to play with placed in the right situation. He may continue to split reps to preserve his health or it may be best from a defensive scheme. Either way, it’s a great situation to have and if Milano needs to play more, he can, but if he’s not needed, then this reduces the risk of either re-injury or other injuries.

WR John Brown (right high ankle sprain)

The Bills practice on a short week with the Denver Broncos on Saturday at 4:30 pm. This game is being played in Denver which could have an impact on the availability of John Brown. He is eligible to return this week, he has been activated for practice, but I’m not certain that he does. 

He is still coming off his high ankle sprain suffered against the Cardinals in Week 10 and he also has sickle cell trait that he has battled through during his career. He has played in Denver before but not since 2014 where he had two receptions for 4 yards. The lower oxygen levels due to the higher altitude could cause his body to fatigue quicker leading to potentially more injuries. To read more on the effects of sickle cell trait, check out this article from Dr. Melanie Friedlander over at Steelers Depot.

I’m not implying that this will prevent him from playing, it hasn’t in the past, but it is a variable that has to be considered especially coming off the numerous injuries this season. This is something that both Brown and the medical staff have likely discussed with his return to play timeline from the high ankle sprain.

With the emergence of Gabriel Davis and a Broncos team on the cusp of playoff elimination, I believe the Bills can survive another week without Brown. They can have him come back in Week 16 to get reps in against playoff-caliber teams in the Patriots and Dolphins before the playoffs start. The 6 total weeks off for the high ankle sprain would allow him plenty of time to come back fully healthy in time for the playoffs. 

It is remarkable that the Bills can suffer all these injuries and just fill the gaps with backup talent until the starters come back to perform. We’ve seen plenty of other teams suffer several injuries that simply derail their playoff hopes and yet the Bills continue to march through. A win this Saturday would lock up the AFC East and allow the Bills to consider resting starters as able. The only downside would be that a win for the Patriots or Dolphins may allow them to get into the postseason which would not be ideal to play the same team 3 times in a season, regardless if there was a regular-season sweep. 

Continue to watch the injury report and updates coming out of Banged Up Bills and One Bills Drive as the Bills head out to Denver to attempt to move to 11-3 on the season. 

Top Photo Credit: MSN.com

2020 Week 14 Bills Injury Preview- Steelers

Will Feliciano and Roberts be effective Sunday night?

It seems like it’s deja vu for the Bills heading into this week. No no, I’m not talking about 2020, that’s simply Hell at this point. I’m talking about the Bills having the ability to clinch a playoff spot (albeit, with some help) on Sunday Night Football against the Pittsburgh Steelers as they did last season. Despite the Steelers owning an 11-1 record, things can and do change quickly in the NFL which means that a stellar record such as that doesn’t assure a win.

The Bills are a team on the rise and must take care of business again on a national stage. They also need to secure this win if they want to lock up the AFC East and potentially have the opportunity to obtain the number one seed. This is a very exciting time as a fan and the fact that the team is getting healthy as the final stretch approaches is fantastic! Below are the Bills’ injuries for Sunday night.

OUT

S Jaquan Johnson (ankle)

Johnson appeared on the injury report after not being noted when it occurred Sunday. Reviewing film, this occurred with 3:44 left in the 4th quarter on a punt return. Johnson tried to double back up to tackle the returner before getting taken out by Tyler Matakevich, hitting his right ankle. Johnson didn’t get up immediately and the camera panned away from the field, preventing further views of Johnson’s reaction or if he required assistance to get off the field.

Looking at limited video and angles available, Matakevich hits Johnson from the outside and strikes his right ankle. I do worry about a high ankle sprain due to the foot being planted in the turf, placing the foot into dorsiflexion with eversion due to the hit from the outside. Add in the fact that he has not practiced this week may shed some light on the severity. 

This will be something to watch in the coming weeks with the possibility of sending him to injured reserve if the injury is as bad as I fear. 

ACTIVE

WR Andre Roberts (Achilles)

Roberts only played in 7 snaps, all on special teams Monday night. In fact, he only really had two plays with the ball where he actually ran. One was a 1st quarter kickoff he brought out for 25 yards that was followed by a routine tackle. The other, a 21-yard punt return early in the 2nd quarter.

The punt return is possibly the only play where I believe he could have strained his Achilles. He caught the ball, stepping back hard onto his left foot, eccentrically loading the leg to push off of before accelerating forward. He dodged and weaved through traffic before being brought down at the 31-yard line. 

Credit: SouthEast Podiatry

He was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday but practiced in full on Friday, but as a veteran, his body may need more rest than recovery from actual injury at this point in the season. He did not have to exit the game for the injury which indicates that this may be more of a minor strain overall. I don’t anticipate this injury to affect his abilities to perform, but will be something to monitor.

G Jon Feliciano (foot/left knee)

Feliciano officially showed up on the injury report with a knee injury along with the foot injury from last week. There are still no specifics regarding the details of the foot injury in which he played 100% of the snaps against the Chargers. As for the left knee, he did get hit in the left knee/thigh area by 49ers defensive tackle Kevin Givens which led to his brief exit followed by his return. He eventually left the game again but that may have been due to the team being up by so much at that point.

By video, it still appears to be a contusion that he can play through. It was somewhat worrisome that he went from full participation on Wednesday to limited on Thursday, but Friday was a full practice and he does not have a game day designation. Overall, he should be able to perform for Sunday night. 

DT Quinton Jefferson (hip)

Jefferson was another surprise addition to the injury report this week with a hip injury. He did play in 44% of the defensive snaps which is slightly lower than his regular playing time, but this may have been due to Harrison Phillips being activated and less due to the injury. It was not clear on film where he suffered his injury and what he exactly did at all.

I did find two possibilities but far from assured this is when the hip injury occurred. The first instance came late in the 1st quarter where he fell hard onto his left hip trying to get into the backfield. The second instance came with 7:05 left in the 4th quarter on the Tre’Davious White interception play. These are the only two instances where he fell hard onto his hip, possibly causing a contusion.

If he suffered some type of groin injury or hip flexor strain, this would be very difficult to find on film without more information. Jefferson did trend upwards this week from a DNP to limited to full on Friday indicating that he may have needed more rest than recovery from injury. If he exits the game Sunday night, this could be an area of concern to look into further.

QB Josh Allen (right knee/ankle)

Josh Allen is simply a tough player. He has battled through injury and adversity this season as he continues to rack up AFC player of the week award, his 3rd such honor this season. His passing ability was not hampered, evident with 375 yards and 4 TD’s. It is important to note that he rushed only 6 times for 11 total yards which supported my theory that he would be limited in his mobility.

Reviewing the box score, he only ran out to his right on passes and only ran to his right or up the middle. He never attempted to stress the right knee and ankle by running to his left unless he was flushed out of the pocket. Whether this was by design or coincidence, that will not be known. Heading into the Steelers game, I would expect that his mobility will increase but not be back to 100% yet with his body now two weeks removed from the original injury. 

Inactives:

QB Jake Fromm

RB TJ Yeldon

TE Tyler Kroft

S Jaquan Johnson

DE Trent Murphy

The Bills certainly have an advantage over the Steelers in the injury department with Pittsburgh dealing with ailments to several key positions including linebacker and cornerback depth.

At linebacker, the Steelers have already lost Devin Bush and Bud Dupree to season-ending ACL tears and are now down a backup, Robert Spillane to a knee injury, likely an MCL sprain. He did not practice all week and this could force Marcus Allen, a converted safety into starting. Add in the fact that Vince Williams was a high-risk COVID exposure and will not play leaving the Steelers linebacking corps extremely thin.

At cornerback, Steven Nelson will play with a knee injury but his counterpart Joe Haden will not due to a concussion from Monday. This forces rookie James Pierre into starting which could really make for a great mismatch for the Bills wide receivers.

The Bills can certainly win this game. They have the talent to do so. The Steelers are a well-coached team and an NFL team doesn’t get lucky and stumble to an 11-1 record, no matter the circumstance. This will still be a hard-fought game but the Bills have the advantage due to lack of injuries and greater depth available. 

Heavy on the bias, but the Bills do have what it takes to win this game. If they don’t, I’d expect it to be close, showing the Bills can keep up with the AFC’s best. Make sure you get all your chores done and possibly get a nap in, it should be an exciting game Sunday night.

Top Photo Credit: Bills Wire-USA Today

2020 Week 13 Bills Injury Review- 49ers

What happened to Jon Feliciano? Updates on Cody Ford and Isaiah Hodgins

The Bills regime and team as a whole continue to break down barriers and set new standards year by year. The first Bills Monday Night Football win in the 21st century, first since 1999, this time over the San Francisco 49ers 34-24. It seems as though every time there is a stat line that the Bills haven’t accomplished something in a while, the Bills set it as a goal and in most cases, win! It almost seems like Sean McDermott has the proverbial carrot in front of the team, always chasing, never satisfied. 

On top of the team stacking wins, the team continues to avoid serious injury with a flurry of activity early in the game before things calmed down later. Below are the injury highlights and updates on several surgeries over the past week.

WR Cole Beasley (concussion check)

Beasley took a hard hit to the head while hauling in a 31-yard pass in the first quarter. He was slightly slow to get up and returned to the sidelines where he was evaluated for a concussion. Thankfully he did not have any symptoms as he quickly passed through the screening and returned to the field to complete a career day in receiving yards. 

The loss of Beasley underneath would have hurt the Bills as they continued to focus on different aspects of the offense to keep the defense guessing. Even with delayed onset of concussion symptoms, it would have been known by now if Beasley suffered one as he would have been announced to be in the concussion protocol during yesterday’s press conference. Thankfully, he appears to be alright.

RB Devin Singletary (Right knee)

Singletary required medical attention shortly after Beasley went in for his concussion check with a run up the left side with 13:08 left in the 1st quarter. It isn’t clear what Singletary did to his knee, but his right knee was directly hit by Jimmie Ward, leading to Singletary missing several plays. 

He was able to return quickly and play the majority of snaps for the remainder of the game signifying that this was not an injury to be concerned about. He was likely pressed into greater service due to Zack Moss’s fumble, but if there was an issue, I believe the team would have played Moss more to ensure Singletary’s health. I’m not certain that Singletary even shows up on the injury report this week though it is possible with how the team has reported several injuries this year.

RB Zack Moss (Right knee)

Right after Singletary went out, Moss followed behind with his fumble that was initially reviewed but eventually overturned. I had initially thought that he suffered a possible concussion as he got a shot to the head while going down. However, he got up and was walking with some discomfort to the sidelines before Singletary returned. Upon review, the outside of Moss’s right knee was hit as he was going down which explains the discomfort walking to the sidelines. 

Moss eventually was able to return to the game though his lack of play was more due to his fumbling issues in the end zone rather than injury. Based on video, the right knee injury appears to be a contusion or at worst a minor MCL sprain. He was able to play through it and did not have any evidence of bracing on the area later in the game. He is also another one that I wouldn’t expect to be on the injury report, but if he is, this instance may be the reason.

G Jon Feliciano (Left leg/knee)

Feliciano went down with a knee injury with 10:12 left in the 3rd quarter. During the play, he fell forward, the left leg appears to disappear into a pile of bodies before he comes out laying on his right side. There was nothing to suggest that he suffered any injury until trainers began tending to his brace. He missed the rest of the series which resulted in the Isaiah McKenzie touchdown before returning.

Feliciano played up until the 4th quarter following the Gabriel Davis touchdown, leaving the field to be replaced by Brian Winters. Looking at the film, there is nothing to suggest that he suffered a further injury after he returned the first time. Going back to look at the original play again in what I’ll refer to as the “Madden view”, his left thigh did get struck by Kevin Givens which could explain why the bracing needed adjusting. To note, this did take me many viewings with many more slowed down to catch this.

It’s possible he could have a contusion that led to the muscle tightening up as the game progressed, but it’s also possible the game began to tilt more in favor of the Bills and they were able to sub Winters in for playing time. Considering Feliciano was mentioned in Tuesday’s press conference, this is something the team acknowledged and it’s possible he appears on the injury report with a quad or knee injury. However, this appears something he can play through and is minor unless he has multiple DNP’s this week indicating a greater severity than originally appears.

Other injury thoughts:

LB Matt Milano (Left pectoral)

Milano finally returned to play against the 49ers after missing the past month of football recovering from his partially torn pectoral muscle from Week 4. While he only played on obvious passing downs, he was more involved in the defense, seeing 19 snaps which is the same from what he saw in Week 7. 

He was able to get a quarterback hit, fully wrapping up Nick Mullens along with two solo tackles in his limited playing time. Hopefully, the team continues to wean him back in as he slowly regains his starting role. The team can take their time with this due to the emergence of AJ Klein, but this just allows the Bills to scheme various plays to keep the opposing offense guessing. Milano still probably isn’t 100% prior to the injury, but he’s obviously close enough to return playing with improved results.

WR Isaiah Hodgins (Left shoulder surgery)

It was announced Tuesday night on Hodgins’s Instagram and Twitter that he had successful shoulder surgery earlier Tuesday. While the exact details are not known what he required surgery on, the team had alluded to the possibility of this back at the beginning of the season when he was placed on injured reserve.

He was observed wearing a shoulder harness during training camp which suggested that he tore his labrum though there wasn’t any past publicly reported medical history to support that. There also wasn’t anything in camp to suggest he further injured his shoulder other than sitting out several practices. However, Sean McDermott did state that Hodgins was being placed on IR to let the shoulder calm down a little bit and get some strength in it. I had interpreted this as a rotator cuff issue which it very well could have been.

Hodgins did return to practice right before Thanksgiving and participated briefly before exiting, not being seen again until this announcement was made public. Once there is more details, a firmer rehab timeline can be established. If it is a rotator cuff repair, he is looking at roughly 6 months; if it is labrum, he is looking at 6-9 months with a more likely return at the 6-month mark due to his positional demands.

G Cody Ford (Right meniscus tear)

It has already been reported that Ford was moving to IR on November 27th with a torn meniscus. This injury was suffered in practice on November 25th according to reports and it was announced he would have season-ending surgery. At the time, it was unknown which knee suffered the injury.

According to Bills Wire reporter Bradley Gelber, Ford had surgery sometime during the first week of December on the right knee as viewed in the picture above. This confirms that he did suffer the right knee meniscal tear which is the same knee injured against the Chiefs. It is possible that he originally tore the meniscus back then, but at the time, the mechanism did not suggest that it was a meniscus, rather, an MCL sprain.

I expect that there are more injuries on the report later Wednesday but hopefully, the list does not grow like it did in past weeks. The Bills are practicing on a short week as they prepare to host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football with the Steelers coming off a loss to the Washington Football Team Monday night. They are dinged up on the defensive side of the ball, losing linebacker Bud Dupree to a right ACL tear last week and their secondary suffering various injuries as well.

It is too soon to tell who will play Sunday for the Steelers but the Bills health is trending upwards allowing a possible mismatch against one of the AFC’s top teams. Like last year, this will be another opportunity for the Bills to showcase their talents on a national stage and garner further respect as they near the playoffs.

Top Photo Credit: Buffalo Rumblings

Week 15 Bills Injury Review- Steelers

How is Tre’Davious White’s injury?

The Buffalo Bills have secured a playoff berth! Following a 17-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football, the Bills have secured no worse than a 5th seed in the AFC. What Sean McDermott & Brandon Beane has accomplished in 3 seasons is nothing short of amazing. This is proof that with the right mindset & knowledge, a team can improve & not relegated to forever known as a loser. There is still a lot of football left to be played, but the Bills are in an excellent position to make a deep run with their continued health a major reason for their success.

CB Tre’Davious White (left shoulder/stinger)

White scared all of BillsMafia late in the 1st quarter when he laid a hard hit on Johnny Holton as soon as he caught the ball. White led hard with his right shoulder on a textbook tackle, taking the ball carrier down before getting up, briefly running to the sidelines, motioning to his left shoulder before rolling down to the ground.

He was assessed on the field before making his way into the medical tent before returning to play. Based on the video, it appeared that he suffered a left-sided stinger. Despite leading with the right arm, his head was snapped violently to the left, potentially compressing on one of the lower cervical nerve roots coming out of the neck. This would have sent weakness, numbness, & pain with a potential electrical shock feeling going down the arm as the nerve essentially gets shocked from the impact. 

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White went into the medical tent and sat out 1 play before returning to continue his stellar play. He also did not appear to have any ill effects from the hit for the rest of the game. During Monday’s press conference, it was noted that nothing was significant about White’s injury. Unless he is limited or continues to have issues, then I may consider this a dead issue as he came back & lit it up. Stinger’s can linger but considering that he returned so quickly, he may avoid problems. Only if he has future stingers will there be concerns.

OT Jon Feliciano (leg cramps)

Feliciano suffered leg cramps early in the 4th quarter despite the weather hovering around freezing. Typically, cramping is seen in hotter weather due to excessive sweating, rapidly losing water. However, coming off the flu in which the body can become dehydrated faster due to vomiting or diarrhea, this is the likely cause. I am sure the team was force-feeding him fluids, but the body can only hold so much & the sweat he was producing became too much for him, causing dehydration.

After getting some fluids & time on the bench, he was able to return & finish out the game. Hopefully, he is on the mend & recovers enough for Saturday in order to play in Foxborough. 

CB Taron Johnson (left hand)

Johnson suffered a left-hand injury as the result of attempting to bring down Nick Vannett right before the 2-minute warning, receiving help from S Jordan Poyer. He sat up, looking at his left hand before getting tended to by trainers. After a commercial, he was observed in some distress as the medical staff began buddy-taping the 4th & 5th digits together for support. It isn’t clear what he did to the hand as the angle wasn’t the best; he either stubbed it trying to bring Vannett down or got hit crushed together between Vannett & Poyer. 

Either way, these aren’t the types of injuries that would hold a player out. The Bills still have something to play for against New England & missing this game is not an option for most players. A hand injury should not stop Johnson & I expect he continues to play.

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle) & DT Corey Liuget (knee)

Nsekhe missed his 4th straight game with his low ankle sprain suffered in the win over the Dolphins. Liuget missed his first game with a knee injury following the loss to the Ravens. Both are progressing, according to Monday’s press conference. We don’t know much about Liuget’s injury, other than it’s termed as a knee.

As for Nsekhe, he needs to return to practice in a limited fashion before I can say when he will return. I continue to speculate that he will be back in time for the Patriots game, but that window is rapidly shrinking unless he practices on Wednesday. Until there is an update for either player, it will be a wait-and-see approach.

TE Tyler Kroft

Kroft stepped up in quite possibly the biggest moment of the season & possibly his career, securing the game-winning TD to put the Bills up 17-10 in the 4th quarter. Thankfully he didn’t suffer any further injuries following his broken foot & sprained ankle, but I bring him up for a reason.

During Monday’s press conference, Brian Daboll noted that the route he ran for the TD was the same one that he broke his foot on during OTA’s. Kroft has been invisible nearly all season & to come back, score the go-ahead TD on the exact route that cost him half the season is simply ironic. But this shows that football is a team sport & that everyone has their part.

The Bills have done it, they made the playoffs & can begin thinking about their opponents, whoever it may be. This doesn’t mean that they will rest all their starters or phone it in as teams that have done that typically don’t fare well later on. I do expect to see important players continue to play the next two games but are pulled similar to a preseason game in order to prevent injury. 

To see the Bills grab an AFC East crown would be incredible & put the Patriots into unfamiliar territory as a Wild Card team, where they haven’t been seeded that low since 1998 when they finished 9-7 as a 6th seed. As Bills fans, we’ve seen crazier things happen that have both favored us & harmed us. By now, why think anything different? The impossible is possible!

Top Photo Credit:

Democratandchronicle.com

Week 15 Bills Injury Preview- Steelers

What is going on with Liuget & Feliciano?

The Buffalo Bills haven’t won in Pittsburgh since 1993, a 24-3 win in their march towards a 3rd Super Bowl appearance. Regular season, they haven’t won there since 1975. To date, the Steelers have won the last 6 meetings with the last win coming in 1999. Safe to say there’s a lot riding on this game, a chance to make up for previous failures. To top it off, this is a Sunday Night game, the Bills haven’t appeared on Sunday night since 2007, an embarrassment by the Patriots. There’s so much at stake, we may need a priest to perform an exorcism for good measure. 

The one upside is that the Bills continue to be healthy heading into a win & in playoff scenario. Players are reducing padded practices per the CBA & trying to manage their health during the week to maximize their abilities on Sundays. Below are the injuries & expected inactives prior to the Sunday game. 

OUT

OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle)

Nsekhe will miss his 4th straight game following his severe sprain suffered in the win over the Dolphins. He continues to show progress, observed walking without a walking boot, but not practicing just yet. I had anticipated that he could come back in time for the Patriots game which is still realistic, but not a guarantee. Once he begins practicing, then a return to play timeline can be definitive.

QUESTIONABLE 

DT Corey Liuget (knee)

Liuget has been dealing with a knee injury all week that forced him to miss Wednesday’s practice, but limited Thursday & Friday. It is not known which knee is bothering him but there were several instances where he could have sustained a contusion due to hitting his knee on a helmet, getting kicked, or having bodies fall on him. Unless a clear mechanism of injury is identified or even which side, hard to really tell if he’s a guarantee to play. If he is unable to go, DT Vincent Taylor gets the nod.

OG Jon Feliciano (illness)

Feliciano was sent home Friday with an illness that affected RB Frank Gore this week & RB TJ Yeldon & OG Quinton Spain last week. It’s flu season & people are bound to get sick. He is truly a 50/50 on whether he plays Sunday night. Considering he has extra time to recover with hitting the fluids & resting, there may be a chance he plays. From the looks of what I’ve seen him do this season, he’s one tough dude. With the ability to clinch a playoff spot, I would think he could muster enough energy Sunday night. If he can’t go, OG Spencer Long would likely get the start.

CLEARED TO PLAY

DT Jordan Phillips (knee)

Like Liuget, it’s unknown which knee he is dealing with. He popped on the injury report as limited Thursday indicating he missed some drill at some point, reportedly receiving extra attention from the training staff at the beginning of practice. Looking back at Sunday’s game on replay, it was a brutal, physical game. It’s no surprise several guys are banged up, especially the big uglies in the trenches. Thankfully, Phillips is cleared to play & he will continue his rotation on the defensive line as they have every other game. 

QB Josh Allen (left ankle)

Allen suffered a mild left ankle sprain as the result of getting stepped on by C Mitch Morse which forced him to limp off the field briefly. He quickly got his ankle taped back up & was able to return to play without missing a snap. As he didn’t appear on the injury report this week, I don’t anticipate it being an issue. He will likely have either some bracing or have it taped up in order to provide extra support. I don’t believe that it will hinder his overall mobility. 

Probable Inactives:

TE Tommy Sweeney

OG Ike Boettger

RB TJ Yeldon

OT Ty Nsekhe

DT Corey Liuget

S Dean Marlowe

WR Duke Williams

The Steelers boast a talented defense, strong offensive line, beat up starting running back in RB James Connor, lacking their top wide receiver in WR Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster & playing their 3rd string QB Devlin Hodges. Heinz Field is not an easy place to play as Steeler Nation shows up every game & this will be no exception. It will be cold & the pressure will be on. The Bills appear to be the more talented team heading down to Pittsburgh to play on the national stage. They have shown they can hang with anyone; this is a winnable game & I expect Buffalo to end Sunday night with 10 wins. 

On a personal note, growing up in Erie, PA, I was surrounded by Steeler fans including many family members. It is incredibly satisfying to see Facebook meltdown after a Steelers loss. I plan on watching the game from the comfort of my own home, watch the Bills win, and then sit back, with a tasty beer as Steelers nation cries themselves to sleep. GO BILLS!

Top Photo Credit:

Sportsbookreview.com