ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. Not only have the been losing games, they just lost two significant players to injuries.
Starting receiver Roscoe Parrish won’t play again this season after sustaining a right wrist injury in Buffalo’s 22-19 loss to the Chicago Bears in Toronto on Sunday, and starting inside linebacker Andra Davis is done for the year because of a nagging shoulder injury that he originally sustained in the season-opening loss to Miami.
Parrish, who finished with 33 catches and a career-high 400 receiving yards, will need surgery to repair the damage.
“You don’t just replace guys that have been that productive,” coach Chan Gailey said Monday. “It’s an opportunity for somebody else to step up.”
Parrish was hurt on Buffalo’s next to last drive. On third-and-10 from the Chicago 44 with 2:31 left in regulation, he dove along the right sidelines to try and haul in Ryan Fitzpatrick’s pass, and wound up falling awkwardly on the wrist.
It’s the same wrist that forced Parrish to miss the first six games of his rookie season in 2005 when he broke it during training camp.
Parrish’s injury is a blow to an offense that has been improving. The diminutive receiver had emerged as a solid option for Fitzpatrick after a forgettable 2009 in which he had only three receptions. Parrish was also Buffalo’s best punt returner, averaging just under 11 yards on 12 returns this year. He came into the season with the fourth-highest punt return average (12.2 yards) in NFL history.
Gailey said the team will consider all of its options before either promoting Naaman Roosevelt, a Buffalo native, or Paul Hubbard from the practice squad, or simply signing a free agent to replace Parrish.
“We’ll see what the best fit might be for us at this point,” Gailey said.
Davis missed two games because of his shoulder injury, including Sunday’s loss to Chicago. The nine-year NFL veteran signed with the Bills this offseason to serve as the defensive play-caller as the team made the switch to a 3-4 defense.
The damaging news comes a day after Buffalo dropped to 0-8, the worst start since losing 11 straight to open the 1984 campaign. Fitzpatrick, though, has been part of a second-half turnaround, and thinks history can repeat itself.
In 2008, he played on a team that lost its first eight games, but the Bengals were able to salvage some respectability by going 4-3-1 over their final eight. That recovery helped set the tone for a 2009 campaign in which they won the AFC North at 10-6.
“This team, at least from an offensive standpoint, is probably more talented,” Fitzpatrick said when asked of the similarities between the two winless clubs. “That’s something that I look as a positive. We haven’t given up on the season.”
To the Bills credit, they haven’t rolled over in their last three gut-wrenching losses that included two straight overtime defeats. But one can’t take away the “bumbling” description when talking about the Bills quite yet, as big turnovers at inopportune times have kept victory No. 1 from their grasp.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever been through something like this in my career,” receiver Lee Evans said. “It’s trying on you mentally and physically.”
Notes: The Bills also signed RB Quinton Ganther and released RB Andre Anderson and practice squad RB Rodney Ferguson Monday. Ganther has 262 yards rushing on 71 carries in 28 career NFL games. He was released by Seattle last Tuesday. … Sunday’s game against the will be the first played in Buffalo since the Bills lost 36-26 to the on Oct. 10. … Newly acquired LB Shawne Merriman said on Monday that he expects to practice Wednesday. The team didn’t practice on Monday. … Receiver Steve Johnson had his franchise-tying five-game touchdown reception streak snapped. … Fitzpatrick has thrown a touchdown strike in nine straight games dating back to last season, the longest franchise TD stretch since threw at least one pass for a score in 10 consecutive games in 2002.