Here's the Bills news of note for Nov. 1st.
1 - Scaling back Alexander's workload
In addition to two more injuries to an already depleted offense, the Bills lost the NFL's sack leader early in the first half on Sunday. Lorenzo Alexander injured his hamstring on punt coverage, and did not see any action for the rest of the game.
On Monday, Rex Ryan gave a slight update on his condition and said that he hopes Buffalo's breakout star will be available next Monday night against the Seahawks. Alexander said that he has had a similar injury before, and was able to return the following week.
When he does return, it looks as though he will be having a reduced workload, especially on special teams.
The 33-year-old had a team-high 86 snaps last week against the Dolphins, but Ryan said that the Bills are going to be much more mindful about his playing time going forward.
It certainly has been difficult to take him off the field, as Alexander had a sack in the team's first seven games and has also tallied 25 tackles on the year. Alexander has already shattered his previous single-season high of 2.5 sacks and is well on his way of surpassing his career-high of 34 tackles set in 2012.
If Alexander can't go on Monday, rookie Shaq Lawson is set to make his first career start. Lawson recorded his first sack on Sunday and made his presence known. He was in New England's backfield on several throws and also recorded an additional tackle. Lawson also took a 15-yard penalty for a late hit against Tom Brady, but Ryan is confident that he can continue to improve with even more practice time.
"I thought he did some good things," Ryan said. "We put him in a couple of different coverages and I thought he did a decent job. I know he got a late hit on the quarterback. He's got to understand that you might be able to blast them in college, but in this game if it's late they're going to call it. There were too many of those things that we've got to learn from. But this is a young man that we all think is going to be a tremendous player for us. He's had two weeks of practice so hopefully he gets better and better as the weeks go on."
2 - Kyle quietly disruptive week after week
Despite the success of New England's offense on Sunday, the Bills did have a solid pass rush. Tom Brady was pressured a total of 17 times on 38 drop backs, and the Bills recorded five sacks. Leading the way for the front seven as usual was Kyle Williams.
Williams was the top ranked Buffalo defensive player in the Pro Football Focus grades for the Bills-Patriots game.
He posted a sack, three hits on Brady, a hurry, and made a tackle in the run game.
Williams has regained his form in his 11th year with the Bills. After missing 10 games last year with a knee injury, he has tallied two and a half sacks, and 20 tackles through eight games this year.
Even more importantly Buffalo is that he has helped to mentor rookies Adolphus Washington and Shaq Lawson. They will need that leadership especially down the stretch, trying to make a run at the playoffs.
Williams knows that there is a lot of football yet to be played and the banged up Bills may have to call upon just about everyone to make an impact.
"True character will get tested now," Williams said. "We have to go on the road against probably the best team in the NFC. Guys have to understand that this league is play by play. You never know who's going to be called upon and who may have to come in and play. Guys have to prepare that way."
3 - Goodwin out of concussion protocol
The Bills got a bit of good news on the injury front Monday, when Rex Ryan told WGR-550 in his weekly radio appearance that wide receiver Marquise Goodwin!(/team/roster/marquise-goodwin/56d0fa9a-296f-4c64-a3cd-5115720e35a2/ "Marquise Goodwin") is out of the concussion protocol.
"We got Robert Woods came back this past week," said Ryan. "Obviously he wasn't 100 percent, but hopefully he can get back. Goodwin is out of the concussion protocol so it looks like he'll play this week."
Goodwin was injured late in the Week 7 matchup against the Dolphins when his head hit the turf, and the Bills were without their most consistent deep-threat in the passing game against New England.
The speed receiver leads the Bills with three touchdown receptions and is averaging 21.5 yards per catch. Through seven games, he had 12 receptions for 258 yards.
The Bills took on the Patriots with a depleted receiving group consisting of Robert Woods, Walt Powell, Justin Hunter and Brandon Tate. Woods was still battling a nagging foot injury and Tate left the game in the third quarter with a concussion.
Tate is currently in the league's concussion protocol, but the Bills are hoping to have all hands on deck Monday against Seattle's talented secondary.