As the two seed in the AFC, the Buffalo Bills will host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon in Super Wild Card Weekend round of the NFL Playoffs, but they’ll be doing so without at least two starters.
On Friday, the Bills announced that both wide receiver Gabe Davis and safety Taylor Rapp had been ruled out of this weekend’s game. Davis injured his knee in the first half of Buffalo’s Week 18 AFC East division-clinching game in Miami. It wasn’t much of a surprise that the Bills’ WR2 wouldn’t be playing this week as he was unable to return for the second half of last week’s game and hasn’t practiced since.
Rapp was injured on Buffalo’s last defensive play in Miami and sealed the win for Buffalo with an interception of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa — thus letting Buffalo’s offense run out the clock. When Rapp first stood up after diving for the ball, it looked like he may have had the wind knocked out of him as he tucked the football under his body before he hit the ground. However, the 26-year-old safety was seen hopping/limping before he left the field. Like Davis, Rapp hasn’t practiced this week either.
Buffalo listed two other players as questionable on their final injury report of the week: linebacker Tyrel Dodson and cornerback Rasul Douglas. Dodson left the game in Miami just minutes before Davis and was listed with a shoulder injury. Like Davis, he was ruled out for the second half of that game. He started the week as a limited participant but on Thursday was downgraded to a non-participant. However, on Friday he was practicing again giving hope that he may be available Sunday. Buffalo did sign veteran linebacker A.J. Klein to their practice squad this week, giving them some depth at the position if needed.
Douglas was also injured in the first half of last week’s game when he appeared to take some friendly fire from safety Micah Hyde. Although he was never ruled out, he didn’t get back on the field Sunday and later said that Dane Jackson had told him that he could handle the cornerback duties for the second half. Douglas hasn’t practiced at all this week, but has yet to be ruled out with Buffalo giving him a questionable designation instead.
In a bit of good news, running back Ty Johnson, who suffered a concussion when he took a hit to the helmet as he tried to find the end zone at the end of the first half of last week’s game, has cleared concussion protocol. Despite being limited again today, Johnson doesn’t have an injury designation for Sunday. The Bills will have to decide how many (and which) running backs they want on their 53-man roster Sunday. Leonard Fournette is on their practice squad and has been active in two games: Week 16 when Johnson was injured and Week 18 when they listed Latavius Murray as a healthy scratch. Of course, they also have James Cook — who is a lock to be active on any game day that he’s healthy.
Other good news is that offensive tackle Dion Dawkins, who had a hand laceration and required stitches in the fourth quarter of Buffalo’s win over Miami was a full participant on Friday. Dawkins was listed as limited on Wednesday and then missed practice with an illness on Thursday. Also back were both tight end Dawson Knox, who also had an illness on Thursday, and wide receiver Deonte Harty, who missed a practice due to personal reasons.
Friday injury report pic.twitter.com/YCUc76z4L0— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) January 12, 2024
The Steelers have only ruled out T.J. Watt for Sunday’s game — and that was done early in the week. They have no one else listed with any injury designations. That means that they feel that safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, running back Najee Harris, and linebacker Elandon Roberts have all recovered enough to be productive on Sunday.
With a scheduled 1 p.m. EST kickoff, both teams have until 11:30 a.m. EST on Sunday to post their game-day rosters and announce their inactives list.