Bills rule out two key starters for matchup with Patriots
November 30th, 2022
In the days leading up to Thursday’s matchup between the Patriots and Bills, Buffalo’s injury report was extensive. The Bills are pretty banged up at this point in the season as it is, and are also now dealing with an illness in their locker room. In total, they listed 16 players this week.
Despite that, only three players got a game status on Wednesday’s injury report – the final one of the week. Starting left tackle Dion Dawkins (ankle) and outside linebacker Von Miller (knee) are both out, while tight end Quintin Morris (illness) is questionable.
Both Dawkins and Miller are both big losses for the Bills. Dawkins has been the Bills’ best offensive lineman so far this season. He has a PFF grade of 72.9, with none of the other starting five posting a grade over 63.
Dawkins’ role against the Patriots in particular stands out. In three games last year he didn’t allow a single pressure, while mostly being lined up across from Matthew Judon.
Veteran David Quessenberry is expected to step in for Dawkins in this game. Quessenberry has played seven games for this Bills this season, making two starts. He’s mostly played right tackle, but stepped in when Dawkins got hurt last week. His PFF grade for the season is 63.3, with a 63 pass blocking grade.
As for Miller, he hasn’t missed a beat in his first year in Buffalo. He’s been one of the best pass rushers in the NFL this season. His 27 pressures rank seventh in the NFL per Pro Football Reference, and he has eight sacks through 11 games. That production has come while playing just 61 percent of the team’s defensive snaps this season.
Miller suffered the knee injury last week in Detroit. He was expected to miss this game, with current reports indicating he could end up being out two-to-three weeks total.
The Bills have some other capable pass rushers, but none rise to the level of Miller. Gregory Rousseau and Tremaine Edmunds are the team’s next two highest-graded pass rushers, but both are returning after missing time due to injury.
For a Patriots team that has struggled in pass protection, not having to face Miller is a big difference. New England’s offensive line is coming off of what was far and away its best performance of the year last week against Minnesota, and now won’t have to deal with one of the league’s top pass rushers as they look to duplicate that effort.
The Patriots injury report and game statues should come out later Wednesday afternoon. Isaiah Wynn and Damien Harris will be players to look for, with both having missed both days of practice this week.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarthor via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.