The Buffalo Bills will likely be without a key member of the secondary as they enter what will be their most important stretch of the regular season.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott announced on November 25 that rookie cornerback Christian Benford suffered an oblique injury in the team’s Thanksgiving Day win over the Detroit Lions. The sixth-round pick has been having a breakout season, jumping into the starting lineup as the team was awaiting the return of Tre’Davious White as he completed rehab for a torn ACL.
Now, as White is ready to rejoin the team and work his way back into a starting role, Benford will likely be headed to the sidelines.
Bills Give Details on Benford’s Injury
As The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia reported on Twitter, Benford suffered an oblique injury in Thursday’s 28-25 win over the Lions and is listed as week-to-week.
Benford began Thursday’s game on the bench as White made his long-awaited return after tearing his ACL in the team’s Thanksgiving game last season. McDermott noted that White was on a “pitch count” for the game, and played only the first two series before spending the rest of the game on the bench. As the Buffalo News noted, Benford replaced him and played 33 snaps before going out, with fellow rookie Kaiir Elam finishing out the game.
The Bills could be losing Benford for a key stretch, starting with next Thursday night’s game against the New England Patriots. The Bills moved a half-game ahead of the Miami Dolphins for the lead in the AFC East, but could find themselves back in second place after the Dolphins take on the league-worst Houston Texans on Sunday. Three of Buffalo’s six remaining games are against AFC East opponents.
White Returns to Bills
Benford’s injury could create an opening for the Bills to increase White’s usage in the coming games. McDermott has stressed that the team would be careful with his return, not rushing him back to the field or giving him a bigger workload than he can handle.
After Thursday’s game, McDermott said they would continue to move White ahead.
“That (snap count) was in the range of what we thought,” McDermott said, via a report from the Buffalo News. “And now, let’s build on it.”
While results were mixed on the two drives with White on the field — the Bills held Detroit to a three-and-out the first time, but the Lions responded with a touchdown drive on the second — the team seemed to get a boost just from his presence on the field.
“You can feel that energy when he’s out there on the field again,” safety Jordan Poyer said. “It was kind of surreal to go out there again after a year and see him on the field and I’m giving him calls and I’m just like, dang, 2-7 is back. So, he lifts everybody else up.
“It’s awesome to see him out there. I know he was on a pitch count, but we’re excited to have him back on the football field.”