Just a day ago, Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott delivered disappointing news about wide receiver John Brown and offensive lineman Cody Ford.
The Bills had already lost Ford for the rest of the season with a torn meniscus, as reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, but Brown’s future status was unknown. After being ruled out for this week’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers, the Bills announced on Saturday that they had placed Brown and Ford on the injured reserve list.
Brown will now have to miss at least the next three games.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) November 28, 2020
Before the Bills went into their bye week, Brown suffered an ankle injury against the Arizona Cardinals when he went up for a pass against Patrick Peterson and came down awkwardly on his right ankle.
The 30-year-old wide receiver had also been in and out of the lineup all season long with nagging knee and calf injuries.
Although he hasn’t topped 100 receiving yards in a game this season, Brown has caught 29 passes for 386 yards and two touchdowns. He’s also averaged 13.3 yards per catch and 48.3 yards per game.
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What John Brown’s Absence Does to Buffalo’s Offense
Although Brown has only missed two games this season, those nagging injuries have limited his play. 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 fired 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.
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 on Friday. “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.
Buffalo Makes Corresponding Moves
After placing Brown and Ford on the Injured Reserve list, the Bills elevated wider receiver Jake Kumerow and former first-round pick Darron Lee from the practice squad.
Kumerow, who may garner a few offensive snaps on Sunday with Brown not playing on Sunday, has played in Buffalo’s last two games but has primarily recorded special team snaps. He did record three snaps against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 9 and has played a combined 33 special teams snaps this season.
Lee was signed to the practice squad earlier this season after serving a four-game suspension that was handed down in September. The former Ohio State linebacker and first-round draft pick by the New York Jets started two games for the Kansas City Chiefs last season and played in all 16 regular season games.
He did not play in Kansas City’s postseason run. He has only played in one game for the Bills and recorded a tackle on 22 special teams snaps against the Cardinals.
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