The Buffalo Bills have taken another blow from COVID-19, with the infection taking out a key member of the offensive line for what could be the next two games.
The team announced on Thursday that offensive tackle Spencer Brown was headed to the COVID-19 reserve list, just as wide receiver Jake Kumerow was coming off of it. Brown, the team’s third-round pick, has emerged as one of the best offensive linemen and made his way into the starting lineup. Because of the team’s short turnaround ahead, Brown could be in danger of missing both of Buffalo’s upcoming games.
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Brown’s Status Up in the Air
As Dan Lavoie of SB Nation’s Buffalo Rumblings noted, Brown’s availability going forward will depend on his vaccination status. The timing of the team’s announcement means Brown is all but assured to miss Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts, and because the team plays just four days later on Thanksgiving, he could miss that one as well.
“In this week, a vaccinated, asymptomatic Brown might be able to play against the Saints,” Lavoie wrote. “Otherwise, he wouldn’t have that luxury. Of course, here’s hoping that vaccine or not, Brown’s symptoms are mild. Bills fans won’t forget how the virus ravaged Dion Dawkins in the summer, setting him up for a bumpy season this year.”
The Bills have now lost a number of players to the COVID-19/reserve list in the past few weeks, including backup quarterbacks Jake Fromm and Mitch Trubisky. That left Davis Webb as Josh Allen’s backup against the Jets, and he entered the game in mop-up duty late in the fourth quarter of the win.
Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei was added to the reserve list on Sunday, and his status remained up in the air as of Wednesday.
“Don’t know. He’s still in that COVID process this morning,” McDermott told reporters via video conference when asked about whether Lotulelei could play against the Colts. “Seems to be all right, you know. Best I could tell you. I don’t see him, so.”
Brown’s Play Earns Praise
Brown had already missed two games after suffering a back injury, and returned on November 14 to help the Bills to a 45-17 win over the New York Jets. After the Bills struggled to establish a rushing game in the previous week’s 9-6 upset loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brown helped spark a strong ground attack against the Jets. Four different players scored rushing touchdowns for the Bills, and Brown made a number of key blocks to lead the way.
After the win over the Jets, Bills head coach Sean McDermott praised the energy that Brown brought to the offense.
“We ran the ball I thought effectively, in particular in the second half, mostly in the third quarter. He’s a young player, let’s not put him in the Hall of Fame yet, okay, please, help me with that,” McDermott joked to reporters, via Syracuse.com. “He is a young player that has to continue to learn what it takes to play in this league and he knows that and that humble and hungry approach is real and we need to carry that forward next week.”