The Buffalo Bills are headed to London, but Kyle Williams and Sammy Watkins may end up staying behind in Western New York.
Both Watkins and Williams were hurt in the team’s 34-21 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, a game in which the Bills struggled on both offense and defense. With the Bills making a quick turnaround and preparing for an overseas flight for their international game against Jacksonville, it seems unlikely that either will be able to play.
Watkins was hurt at the end of the first half, turning in the endzone to come back to a ball and twisting his ankle. Watkins caught the pass for a touchdown, but stayed down on the turf afterward and had to be helped to the sideline.
The injury came just days after Watkins expressed frustration with his role on the team, saying that young quarterbacks EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor need to have more trust in him.
Watkins said he would like to see the kind of targets that other young and talented receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones get from their quarterbacks.
“Everybody looks at you getting zero catches, zero yards but when you look on film 90 percent of the time you’re open,” said Watkins in an interview with the Buffalo News. “I understand that these guys are young and they need some time to trust me. Once we get that trust, it’ll be different. But for me, I need the ball at least 10 times — I need 10 targets — and I’ll be fine with however many yards I get. And that’s what I addressed in talking with my agent. We reached out to a couple people and tried to pull some strings like, ‘Hey, I need my targets. You came up to draft me and I’m not getting targets — that’s a problem. You’re making me look bad and you’re making yourself look bad. Why not make both of us look good?'”
The Bills did their best to keep Watkins involved on Sunday, ESPN noted. In the first half, he was targeted five times and ended up with four catches for 48 yards and the one touchdown.
The extent of Watkins’ ankle injury isn’t immediately clear, but given his recent history of injuries and the fact that the team is traveling to London to face the Jacksonville Jaguars make it more likely that the team will hold him out.
— ESPN (@espn) October 18, 2015
The Buffalo Bills will almost definitely be without defensive lineman Kyle Williams, who had to be carted off in the fourth quarter after teammate Manny Lawson fell into his leg. Sources close to the team told ESPN that Williams would almost definitely stay home when the team travels to London after Sunday’s game.
— Buffalo Rumblings (@BuffRumblings) October 18, 2015
The injuries could be very costly to the Buffalo Bills, who with a loss on Sunday fell behind in their hopes for a playoff berth. The Bills now stand at 3-3 with losses to the Patriots, Giants, and Bengals. The team has struggled on defense this year, failing to get the kind of pressure they generated in the past two years.
Losing Kyle Williams will hurt that even more, as Williams generates pressure up the middle that frees up Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes.
The Buffalo Bills will likely need to get a win in London over the Jacksonville Jaguars to remain in the hunt, but then will have a bye week to give their injured starters some time to heal.
[Picture by Marc Serota/Getty Images]