Bills expect QB Taylor to face Chiefs
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Rex Ryan expects quarterback Tyrod Taylor will be healthy enough to start in the Buffalo Bills’ game at Kansas City this weekend.
As for the status of a number of other banged-up players, the Bills coach didn’t sound so sure.
”Really, it’s so much up in the air,” Ryan said Tuesday, during his weekly radio show on Buffalo’s WGR-AM, a day after a 20-13 loss at New England.
Ryan said it was too early to tell if defensive end Mario Williams can play because of a foot injury. And the coach ruled out starting right guard John Miller (high left ankle sprain) and backup receiver Marcus Easley (concussion).
On the bright side, Ryan said Taylor should play despite hurting his right shoulder against the Patriots.
”We’ll see how the week progresses,” Ryan said, without revealing the nature of Taylor’s injury. ”But I think he’ll be ready to roll.”
The Bills return to practice on Wednesday with a short week to contend with and a big challenge ahead at Kansas City in a game between two 5-5 teams in the thick of the AFC playoff race.
Taylor’s availability is regarded as critical because he has provided Buffalo the best chance to win this season.
The first-time starter is 5-3, while backup EJ Manuel lost both games he started last month when Taylor was sidelined by a sprained left knee.
Though Taylor finished the game against the Patriots, he was hampered by the injury to the shoulder of his throwing arm.
Taylor appeared to be hurt midway through the fourth quarter, when he tumbled hard to the ground and landed on his right side after completing a 15-yard pass to Sammy Watkins, who made a one-handed catch.
Taylor got up and began favoring his right arm. He kept adjusting his shoulder pads and occasionally held up his right hand to clutch his collar.
He showed no signs of injury two plays later in hitting Chris Hogan in stride up the right sideline for a 42-yard completion. Taylor however, began flexing his right arm once again.
Taylor then struggled on the Bills final drive, during which he completed 4 of 7 attempts for 30 yards. He also lost the ball while being sacked, though the fumble was recovered by offensive tackle Cordy Glenn.
Ryan was so concerned about Taylor being hurt that he was ready to insert Manuel.
”I was close because I asked the young man, `Listen, don’t be a hero here. I want to know you’re healthy,”’ Ryan recalled. ”And he was like, `Nah, I’m ready coach. Shoot, I’m ready to go.’ And that’s why he stayed in there.”
Taylor finished 20 of 36 for 233 yards.
Injuries weren’t the only issue the Bills dealt with in losing to New England for the 28th time in 31 meetings.
Missed offensive opportunities cost them. So did missed tackles.
LeSean McCoy was unable to hang on to a 30-yard pass in the end zone late in the first half.
On the next play, Dan Carpenter missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt by hitting the right upright.
The Patriots capitalized by going up 10-3 with a six-play, 60-yard drive capped by James White’s 20-yard touchdown catch, in which he broke free of safety Corey Graham’s tackle.
Fumbled punts didn’t help either.
Leodis McKelvin fumbled a punt that led to the Patriots opening a 20-10 lead on Stephen Gostkowski’s 35-yard field goal late in the third quarter.
And then there questionable calls by the officials that went against both teams.
An inadvertent whistle negated what could have been a touchdown catch by New England’s Danny Amendola. And the game ended when the clock was allowed to run out even though Sammy Watkins rolled out of bounds at midfield with 2 seconds left.
Bills general manager Doug Whaley refused to use the officials as an excuse.
”There’s going to be mistakes, but let’s play so well that that removes all doubt and takes that out of the factor of us winning or losing,” Whaley told WGR earlier in the day. ”That’s what we’re imparting on our players.”
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL