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Bills’ mounting injuries taking mental toll

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Even typically upbeat Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan admitted he has a doom and gloom attitude right now, so frustrated is he regarding the incredible spate of injuries befalling his team.

“I think it’s affecting everybody’s morale, mine included,” Ryan said. “You have a vision of what this team can be when we’re healthy and it’s just frustrating because you don’t have your parts. I know we can compete with anybody, but it just seems like we take a step forward and then we end up taking two steps back. It’s been a frustrating year and these injuries, it’s just amazing.”

The players feel the same way. They understand that the next man has to step up, but it’s getting difficult because the team simply can’t function, particularly on offense.

“Right now, the mood is exactly what it seems,” said linebacker Manny Lawson. “Everybody’s down. We have a lot of injuries. We have some players that we depend on that, right now, we don’t know their status. But it’s also an opportunity for other guys. I hope that everybody’s who’s a backup, second string or wherever down the line that they take this opportunity and seize the moment.”

The Bills began the Bengals game without quarterback Tyrod Taylor (knee), running back Karlos Williams (concussion), and wide receiver Percy Harvin (hip). During the game they lost wide receiver Sammy Watkins (ankle), who had just returned from a two-game absence, wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (ribs), and offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson (concussion). On defense, tackle Kyle Williams (knee) went down in the fourth quarter, joining safety Aaron Williams (neck), who is on short-term injured reserve.

“It hurts,” said wide receiver Robert Woods. “That’s a lot of weapons who went down.”

Although it’s early, it looks as if Watkins, Harvin and Kyle Williams will definitely be absent for the game in London against Jacksonville. As for the others, we won’t know until later in the week.

— EJ Manuel wasn’t terrible in his first start Sunday since Week 4 of 2014, but he was typically inconsistent, which is mainly why he lost his job in the first place last year to Kyle Orton. Buffalo’s 34-21 loss to the Bengals could not be pinned on Manuel.

In the end, he did put up three touchdowns and it was the defense that disappointed. However, Manuel does not bring the same dynamic that Tyrod Taylor does, especially with his athleticism, and also with his accuracy. Manuel just throws too many passes that are off target, and if not for some great catches by his receivers, his numbers would have been worse.

“I thought at times he was outstanding, then other times he probably wishes he had a couple throws back,” said Ryan. “But overall I was pretty happy with EJ.”

Manuel, who always tries to stay positive, admitted there were a few throws he’d like back, but he thought he played well enough to win the game.

“It’s been a long time, I thought it went alright, but at the end of the day we didn’t win, and that’s the toughest part,” he said. “Performance wise, of course there are some things I wish that I could have done better, but I thought it was solid.”


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