Devin Singletary went down in the opening drive against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night — a scary moment that initially looked like a damaging loss for the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills running back was taken down hard after a short gain early in the first quarter, with medical staff taking to the field to tend to him.
Singletary was seen going through a series of exercises on the sidelines following the injury, apparently testing his knee while sprinting and moving laterally. Though backup running back Zack Moss remained in for much of the opening drive, the team announced shortly after the injury that Singletary was probable to return. After Moss went down hard on a play initially ruled a fumble but later overturned, Singletary returned for the rest of the drive.
The 49ers would go on to stop the Bills on a fourth-and-goal play — the first time in five games that they did not take the opening possession for a touchdown.
Injury Update: Devin Singletary is probable to return (knee).
— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) December 8, 2020
NFL INJURY ALERT: Bills RB Devin Singletary (knee) is probable to return to tonight's game vs. the 49ers. pic.twitter.com/QjCy62zCTm
— DK Nation (@dklive) December 8, 2020
It was not clear if the injury would hamper Singletary throughout the game, though he did not appear to be slowed in further plays. Buffalo has already suffered a number of losses on offense, including wide receiver John Brown, who was placed on injured reserve after being hurt in a Week 10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. They had also placed offensive lineman Cody Ford on IR after he tore a meniscus in practice earlier in the year. As ESPN reported, coach Sean McDermott said that he would be forced to miss the remainder of the year.
Singletary came into the season as the starting tailback, taking over the role of the primary back from veteran Frank Gore late in 2019. With Gore gone to the New York Jets, Singletary had come into the 2020 campaign looking to expand his role.
However, he has instead seen that role diminished as the season has gone on, struggling at times as Buffalo has taken to a pass-heavy attack. As CBS Sports noted, both he and Moss were ineffective in the 32-30 loss to the Cardinals. Singletary had just 15 yards on four carries in the game.
“As poor as Singletary’s performance was, Zack Moss was just as ineffective, netting 17 yards on eight touches, and Josh Allen wound up leading the Bills in rushing yards,” the report noted. “With the team headed into its bye week, Sean McDermott and the coaching staff will get some extra time to figure out how to spark a backfield that has seen a running back top 50 rushing yards only once in the last five games.”
The second-year back has still been able to lead the team in rushing for 2020, coming into this week’s Monday Night Football with 483 yards on the ground along with a touchdown while averaging 4.4 yards per carry.
The 8-3 Bills were looking to stay ahead of the Miami Dolphins for the lead in the AFC East, and a victory to take them to nine wins overall would guarantee the franchise the third winning year out of the last four.