Bills head coach Rex Ryan made the conscious decision to preserve several of his key starters on defense and a few on offense and sat them for Friday’s preseason game at Washington. His decision proved to be a wise one because a few of his second and third teamers sustained injuries at FedEx Field.
The worst were suffered by TE Chris Gragg and CB Jonathan Dowling, who both sustained knee injuries.
“Yeah both of them it looks like ACLs, which is a real shame,” said Ryan. “Sometimes, especially with Gragg’s injury guys should make a tackle there. But I get it he was frustrated he just had a 15-yard penalty. That was ridiculous in my opinion, but it is what it is.”
Ryan was referring to Washington safety De’Angelo Hall. Flagged for unnecessary roughness on the previous series for a late hit on a run play, Hall submarined Gragg on a 3rd-and-13 play when the tight end caught a short pass over the middle. The tight end was pinwheeled by Hall’s hit and sustained the ACL knee injury.
Dowling was injured covering a punt two possessions later. It appeared that his left leg got caught in the turf and his knee gave way. He was helped off the field.
On the last play of the third quarter RB Jonathan Williams took a 2nd-and-6 carry to the right. He was stopped by Washington S Duke Ihenacho, who subsequently picked Williams up off the ground and slammed him down on his back with his full body weight landing on top of him.
Williams rolled over in obvious pain onto all fours. The rookie running back sustained a rib injury as a result of the play.
While being tended to by athletic trainers, Ryan called referee Ed Hochuli over and was appealing to him that the play should’ve been blown dead when Williams’ forward progress appeared to be stopped.
“I think the number one job of the officials is to protect the players,” said Ryan. “We don’t have a league without players and I think that’s the number one job of an official. His forward motion looked stopped to me. Maybe I had a bad angle on it.”
Fellow rookie Kevon Seymour, who saw extensive action Friday, also left the game with a strained hamstring.
All the injured players will be re-evaluated by the medical and athletic training staff over the weekend.