Rare has been the time when an impending injury report will be more anticipated than the one the Buffalo Bills will release Wednesday afternoon.
That’s because it’s hard to fathom a team in recent memory that has had more of a crisis than the Bills did in their 21-19 loss to the Dolphins Sunday afternoon in the overwhelming heat and humidity in Miami.
At various points against the Dolphins, the Bills were down 11 starters/key contributors from the team that began the season in Los Angeles three weeks ago.
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At various points against the Dolphins, the Bills were down 11 starters/key contributors from the team that began the season in Los Angeles three weeks ago. That group was offensive linemen Mitch Morse, Ryan Bates and Spencer Brown, wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie, tight end Dawson Knox, defensive tackles Ed Oliver and Jordan Phillips, and defensive backs Jordan Poyer, Micah Hyde, Dane Jackson and Christian Benford. And then during the game, they lost three backup players in Jake Kumerow, Tommy Doyle and Greg Van Roten.
Somehow, the Bills were able to hang with the Dolphins through it all, and very nearly pulled off the victory. All they needed was a few more yards and a few more seconds and Tyler Bass would have had a legitimate chance to kick a winning field goal. Alas, that did not happen.
Buffalo Bills injury report update for Week 4
Coach Sean McDermott provided an update Monday afternoon on the medical massacre the Bills are facing as they begin preparations for another very tough road test Sunday in Baltimore against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
He said Benford suffered a broken hand and will have surgery on Tuesday, so he’s going to be out of action several weeks. Doyle suffered a torn ACL in his knee so he’s done for the season. Kumerow has a high ankle sprain and that’s an injury that usually takes several weeks, if not more, to heal. And Bates entered the concussion protocol so his status for Baltimore will depend on how he progresses during the week.
As for quarterback Josh Allen, McDermott did not indicate that his throwing hand is a specific problem, even though Allen admitted Sunday that he had banged it on a Dolphin players’ helmet. But he did say, “Josh is obviously sore today. He was doing a lot out there, took a beating and so he’s fine other than soreness overall. I know he’s looking forward to getting some rest today and tonight.”
More:Bills lose wild game to Dolphins, several players to injuries in oppressive heat
As for the players who did not dress in Miami, he said, “All those guys are improving and we’re just gonna take it one day at a time, kind of put all those guys in the same bucket right now. “
Given the Bills’ tight salary cap situation, it may be difficult for them to seek help from outside the organization to fill some of the gaps on the roster, but McDermott acknowledged that general manager Brandon Beane may need to start working the phones.
“We always like to start inside the building in terms of the guys that are here working hard and developing,” McDermott said. “If we need to, though, we will go outside of the building if the numbers call for that. We’ll see. I’ll know more tomorrow. We lost two or three guys just from yesterday’s game for a few weeks here and then we’ve got to see if we can get anybody back here.”
Top players for Baltimore Ravens on offense, defense
▶ QB Lamar Jackson: He gets a little better every year, and while he’s always a major threat as a runner − and really, he is the Ravens run game at this point − Jackson has become a much more refined passer. That was the part that everyone thought would always hold him back, but he’s dropping dimes these days and it puts him into that Josh Allen category as a true elite dual threat.
Sunday against a solid Patriots defense, he ran for 107 yards and a touchdown and threw for 218 yards and four touchdowns. That made him the second player in NFL history to record at least four TD passes, 100 rushing yards, and a rushing TD in a single game. Randall Cunningham of the Eagles was the first, doing it in 1990.
He also became the first player in the Super Bowl era to record at least three TD passes and 100-or-more rushing yards in three straight games.
More:Bills must face Miami’s potent passing game with secondary in complete disarray
▶ WR Devin Duvernay: It seems like Duvernay should give the Ravens more because he can be a dynamic playmaker as evidenced by his 103-yard kickoff return touchdown against the Dolphins. He has eight catches for 121 yards and three TDs in three games.
▶ TE Mark Andrews: Travis Kelce gets an awful lot of deserved attention, so does George Kittle, but they really don’t have much on Andrews who has been a dominant player at his position since he entered the NFL in 2018. Last year he caught 107 passes for 1,361 yards and nine TDs. Andrews has 22 catches for 245 yards and three TDs.
▶ DE Justin Houston: Yes, he’s still in the league, and he’s still getting heat on QBs. Now in his 12th NFL season, he has 104 career sacks, which is fourth among active players behind Von Miller, Chandler Jones and Cameron Jordan.
▶ DT Justin Madubuike: He’s not a name player like fellow lineman Calais Campbell, who’s still really good, but Madubuike has played better than Campbell so far this season according to Pro Football Focus. In fact, he’s the top-graded player on the Ravens defense and his forte is stopping the run.
▶ LB Patrick Queen: The Ravens first-round pick in 2020 is an every-down player who is one of those guys who makes plays all over the field. Against the Patriots he was in on five tackles, had a sack and also defended a pass.
▶ SS Chuck Clark: He plays a similar style to Jordan Poyer because he’s very good in run support when he comes down to play in the box, but he can also handle his coverage responsibilities. He has been in on 22 tackles including nine against the Patriots and he has forced one fumble.
What the game means to Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens
The 2-1 Bills are now in second place in the AFC East behind the 3-0 Dolphins, and while they face a challenging schedule for the foreseeable future, Miami doesn’t have nearly as difficult as road.
That means the Bills can’t afford to drop too many games for risk of falling further behind Miami. Of course, because the Ravens are an AFC opponent and are the favorite to win the AFC North, getting a tiebreaker against them could prove very important to the Bills come playoff seeding time.
Baltimore is tied atop its division with Cleveland at 2-1 and by all rights should be 3-0, but the Ravens suffered an epic collapse at home in Week 2 against Miami, blowing a 35-14 lead. This is a strong team and a huge test for the banged up Bills.
What’s the betting line for Bills vs Ravens?
Despite their loss to Miami Sunday and all their injuries, and Baltimore’s 37-26 throttling of the Patriots in New England, the Bills are nonetheless opening the week as a somewhat curious three-point favorite according to Tipico. There’s a good chance this line could move during the week, though, once the Bills start releasing injury reports.
The money line is Bills minus-165 (bet $165 to win $100) and Ravens plus-140 (bet $100 to win $140). The over-under for the game is 53.
What time does the Bills vs Ravens game start?
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Bills vs Ravens: How you can watch and listen to the game
∎ Cable/Network: CBS with announcers Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Charles Davis (analyst), and Evan Washburn (sideline reporter). The game will be available locally via the following stations: WROC (Channel 8, Rochester), WIVB (Buffalo area), WTVH (Syracuse area), WKTV (Utica area), WENY (Elmira area), WRGB (Albany area), and WBNG (Binghamton area).
∎ Online streaming services: NFL.com and the NFL mobile app. Also, the NFL has a new streaming service called NFL+ which replaces NFL Game Pass, though you can’t cast the games to your TV – you must watch on your phone or tablet. The cost is $5 a month or $30 for the season, and a premium tier costs $10/$80 which includes all-22 coaches film and condensed and full-game replays. With it, you’ll be able to watch every local game on Sunday and the national games on Monday and Thursday nights as well as the playoffs and the Super Bowl. You can also stream if you have subscriptions to DirecTV, fuboTV, NFL+, Sling, Vidgo, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, and Paramount+.
∎ How to listen: The Bills Radio Network has stations all across the state. They include Rochester (WCMF 96.5 and WROC 950 AM), Buffalo (WGR550, 550 AM), Syracuse (WTKW 99.5 and WTKV (105.5), Ithaca (WIII 99.9/100.3 FM), Bath (WVIN 98.3 FM), Newark (WACK 1420 AM), Dansville (WDNY 93.9 FM), Elmira (WNGZ 1490 AM), Auburn (WAUB 98.1 FM/1590 AM), and Geneva (WGVA 95.9 FM, 1240 AM). You can also listen on SiriusXM satellite radio on channel 385 (Bills) and channel 227 (Ravens).