The Buffalo Bills (13-3) are fine-tuning their roster ahead of their postseason journey, and just days before their Wild Card round matchup against the Miami Dolphins (9-8), the team elevated wide receiver Cole Beasley to the active roster.
In order to make room for Beasley on the 53-man team, the Bills released offensive lineman Justin Murray, whom they signed to a one-year deal ahead of their Week 4 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. While it seems like odd timing to elevate Beasley, as there are no restrictions on how many times a player can be called up to the active roster during the playoffs, this move creates more flexibility for the team to elevate two other players throughout the postseason – which is the max number allowed.
With Isaiah McKenzie not practicing this week due to a hamstring injury, elevating Beasley gives the Bills some cushion in the receivers’ room. Since the 33-year-old unretired to re-sign with the Bills, he’s been elevated to the active roster three times. Buffalo has used the veteran sparingly thus far. In Week 15, he participated in 11 snaps during the Bills’ win over the Dolphins, and six offensive snaps in their Week 16 victory over the Chicago Bears. In each tilt, he recorded one 9-yard pass. Beasley was active for the Bills-Bengals matchup which was ultimately canceled.
Beasley has totaled 28 catches for 293 yards in 7 games vs the Dolphins, per the Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson.
After a Traumatic Few Weeks, the Bills are Ready to Focus on the Playoffs
Following Damar Hamlin‘s medical emergency at Paycor Stadium on January 2, it wasn’t clear how or if the Bills would be able to proceed with playing football after such a traumatic event. However, between Hamlin’s remarkable recovery over the past two weeks, and an inspiring win over the New England Patriots in Week 18, the Bills are ready to put the fight back on the field.
Adding to the stream of much-needed good news in Orchard Park, the Bills opened up the 21-day return window for safety Micah Hyde, whose season was believed to be over after he suffered a neck injury back in Week 2. While Hyde won’t play this weekend, there’s hope the All-Pro can return and play during their postseason run.
During a press conference on Wednesday, January 11, Bills quarterback Josh Allen sounded reinvigorated for the playoffs.
“We know it’s going to be a dog fight,” Allen said of facing the Dolphins for a third time this season. “It’s going to be 60 minutes. We’ve got to do our job. We’ve got to execute. We’ve got to trust each other, take care of the football and just try to score points.”
“We just know that it’s win or go home,” Allen added. “It might be a little bit more attention to detail, but again, this is the standard that we set for ourselves and [head] coach [Sean] McDermott sets for ourselves with ‘playoff caliber’ and now that we’re here it’s ‘championship-caliber.’ There is always going to be that little ‘up’ in effort or attention to detail.”
The Bills Odds to Win Jumped After Skylar Thompson was Named as the Dolphins’ Expected Starter
Buffalo was already favored to defeat Miami by 11.5 points, but with the Dolphins preparing to start third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson, the Bills are now considered 13-point favorites. Miami’s No. 1 quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, has not been cleared to play since he experienced concussion symptoms ahead of their Week 16 matchup and backup Teddy Bridgewater is dealing with a dislocated pinkie on his throwing hand.
Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson is not sleeping on Thompson, despite the rookie’s 62.2 passer rating and 5.1 yards per attempt being the worst among the 47 quarterbacks with 100 or more pass attempts this season.
“(Skylar) puts his socks and shoes on just like us, man,” Lawson said. “He went from third-string to starting, just gotta respect him, man. It starts up front, win the line of scrimmage, and put pressure on the quarterback. Stop the run, everything you’d do if Tua was playing, and affect the quarterback the same way.”