Injuries never come at a good time, but the Bills experienced a significant one at the worst possible position when defensive end Ryan Denney went down during the first defensive series of the game.
"Ryan Denney unfortunately broke a bone in his foot," said head coach Dick Jauron. "It's really unfortunate for him and for us."
Denney was carted off the field shortly after exiting the game. Jauron stopped short of calling the injury season ending, but admitted the veteran defensive end will be on the shelf for a while.
"I'm not sure the doctors are certain yet," said Jauron in reference to the timetable for the injury. "We know at the very least he'll miss a substantial amount of time."
The injury leaves Buffalo's defensive end group precariously thin. With Anthony Hargrove lost for the first four games of the season due to a violation of the substance abuse policy, the Bills have no one with NFL game experience behind starters Aaron Schobel and Chris Kelsay.
Eric Powell was inactive for all 16 games last season, Ryan Neill spent 2006 on the practice squad and C.J. Ah You is a rookie seventh-round draft pick.
Making Hargrove's suspension even more painful was his solid performance in Friday night's preseason game against Atlanta as he had a sack, forced fumble and an interception that led to Buffalo's only touchdown.
"As long as I keep playing good and staying out of trouble everything will take care of itself," said Hargrove. "That is my main focus right now, to keep playing well. Hopefully they will keep me and we will see what happens."
Keeping Hargrove on the roster through his league-imposed suspension is almost guaranteed now that Denney is lost indefinitely.
Starting left defensive end Chris Kelsay said Denney's injury was "definitely a blow" to the defense especially in a defensive system based heavily on player rotation. Still he remains confident the coaching staff will take the necessary steps to bolster the position if they feel it's necessary.
"It'll be up to the coaches to decide on what direction we're going to take," Kelsay said. "We've got guys behind myself and Schobel. Eric Powell has been playing really well. Ryan Neill has been playing well. We'll just have to see how it all plays out. The coaches have been through this before I'm sure so they know the steps that need to be taken."
Jauron left the door open for the organization to look around the league for options to re-fortify the position.
"There will be some decisions that we have to make there," said Jauron. "We definitely have to keep looking as we do all the time."
In a couple of weeks Schobel and Kelsay could be looking at a lot more playing time once the regular season arrives, if no viable veteran defensive end is added to the mix.
"That could definitely be a situation," said Kelsay. "We'll just have to wait and see and let the coaches approach it. We've done it before. There's two years there where Schobel and myself and Ryan took the bulk of the workload during the season. That might be a possible circumstance. We've still got a couple of weeks left to the preseason. We'll see how it works out."
Jauron knows his team has to move forward, but he couldn't dismiss that Denney's injury was at a position they could ill afford to lose another player.
"It really hit us in a bad spot," he said.