John Brown will miss his third game of the season on Sunday as he works to recover from an ankle injury that he suffered against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10.
Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott reported the news Friday morning on his WGR 550 appearance and confirmed it during his media availability shortly after.
“As far as I know he didn’t suffer a setback,” McDermott said.
“I’m just going day-to-day, week-to-week, with it at this point,” McDermott said. “I’ll hopefully update you guys early next week with where we are.”
Brown’s injury and game status was the second blow McDermott delivered Friday morning as the Bills also lost Cody Ford for the season with a knee injury he suffered in practice on Wednesday. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Ford suffered a torn meniscus.
#Bills OL Cody Ford is out for the season, coach Sean McDermott announced on WGR 550. He suffered a torn meniscus, source said, and he’s set for surgery that will take 3-4 months of rehab. Should make a full recovery. But a big blow.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 27, 2020
Brown also missed games against the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets with knee and calf injuries. He’s caught 29 passes this year for 386 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 48.3 yards per game.
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What John Brown’s Absence Does to the Bills Offense
Although Brown has only missed two games this season, he’s been battling nagging injuries all season long. Against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Las Vegas Raiders, Brown only garnered two and four targets respectively. Those two games were two of his lowest target totals this season.
When Brown is on the field, at full health, the Bills offense has clicked on all cylinders. He was on the field for both of Josh Allen’s 415-yard passing performances and tallied 82 and 99 yards respectively. He also caught both of his touchdown passes in the first two weeks of the season.
Brown’s presence on the field takes attention away from Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley and allows Allen to attack the whole field at will.
“John is a really good player, and he’s a big part of our offense,” McDermott said during his media availability. “Just like with any situation though, we gotta have other guys step up. Whether it’s Gabe (Davis) or any of the other receivers. Isaiah (McKenzie), Andre (Roberts), and the other guys as well.”
When Brown has missed games this season, both Diggs and Beasley have seen their targets rise. Against the New York Jets, Beasley caught a season-high 11 passes for a season-high 112 yards. Against Tennessee, Diggs garnered a season-high 16 targets and caught 10 passes for 106 yards.
Sean McDermott is Expecting a Next Man Up Mentality
It hasn’t just been the starters excelling in the passing game this season. At times, wide receivers Gabriel Davis and Isaiah McKenzie, tight ends Tyler Kroft and Dawson Knox, as well as running backs Devin Singletary and Zack Moss have had to step up in different ways.
McDermott will expect the same thing on Sunday.
The Los Angeles Chargers have allowed the third-worst completion percentage (61.2%) to quarterbacks this season and have also only allowed 228.7 passing yards per game. So Allen is going to have to use his whole arsenal on Sunday to take down the Chargers with the pass.
Besides Diggs, Brown, and Beasley, Buffalo’s receiving corps has combined for 971 yards and 13 touchdowns. Davis leads the bunch with 275 yards and three touchdowns.
The Bills also might be able to add rookie Isaiah Hodgins to the mix after the Bills designated him to return from the injured reserve list earlier this week. His game status is still up in the air though.