The Buffalo Bills stunning victory over Atlanta yesterday unfortunately came with a price, as two players who’ve played a key role in their 3-1 start are injured and will both miss time— wide receiver Jordan Matthews and linebacker Ramon Humber.
Matthews injured his thumb in the fourth quarter after catching a slant and trying to score near the goal line. He will undergo thumb surgery and is expected to miss at least a month, according to WGR’s Sal Capaccio.
Humber suffered what Ian Rapoport is reporting to be a broken hand. It happened in the first half Sunday. Humber left and came back with a cast attempting to play through it but couldn’t last. According to Rapoport, Humber will “miss time.”
These are injuries to players at positions the Bills are woefully thin at. Matthews is far and away the Bills best possession receiver with not much alongside or behind him. Zay Jones has shown he’s not quite ready to be a reliable NFL starter while Andre Holmes is good for one catch per game (although that catch is usually a big one). After that there’s Brandon Tate and Kaelin Clay. That’s like, really not good.
Luring Anquan Boldin out of retirement would be nice albeit near impossible. The more likely scenario is promoting Brandon Reilly from the practice squad. I’m quite certain there will be some wide receiver tryouts at One Bills Drive within the next 24 hours.
For my money Humber’s been the team’s unsung hero over the first month of the season. I’ve previously confessed to not thinking much of Humber even being on the roster let alone a starter going into the season, and the guy has made me look like a complete idiot. Humber leads the team with 27 tackles and I’m blown away by how he always seems in the right position to make a play. He was replaced Sunday by Mike Milano and that’s a huge downgrade. It doesn’t feel to me like Milano is up to task and if the time Humber misses winds up significant, The Bills may want to look at finding a trade partner to replace him. Zach Vigil is the lone Bills linebacker on the practice squad.
At 3-1 Buffalo are no longer a team purely building for the future. Much like the New York Yankees this year, their time to contend may have arrived far sooner than anyone else anticipated. If Buffalo feels they can truly remain in the thick of a playoff race, it may be worth it to try and pursue a trade at linebacker and/or wide receiver for a mid-to-late draft pick.
Los Angeles Chargers (I hate typing Los Angeles for them), San Francisco, New York Giants and Cleveland are among teams going nowhere. Maybe there’s a receiver or linebacker to be had that makes for a good fit for the Bills, who have the cap room to swing a deal. Again, if we’ve arrived at the point where it’s time to start considering the Bills a playoff contender, swinging a deal for a veteran shouldn’t be as easily dismissed.