Resilient Bills limping ahead on short week
Bills running back C.J. Spiller projects he can play this week if his swollen left ankle get to 80 percent.
Fellow running back Fred Jackson said Monday he intends to wear a brace protecting his sprained left knee. And starting cornerback Leodis McKelvin wants to test his pulled right hamstring in practice first before declaring himself ready.
So much for the Bills (2-2) having time to celebrate, a day after a stunning 23-20 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Banged up but resilient, the Bills went immediately back to work to prepare to play at Cleveland (2-2) on Thursday night.
''We have to hit the ground running,'' defensive tackle Kyle Williams said. ''We can't pat ourselves on the back too long. We've got a busy week in front of us.''
And that goes double for Buffalo's training staff after injuries took a toll Sunday.
Spiller and Jackson were both hurt in the third quarter, before returning to play in the fourth. Converted safety Aaron Williams couldn't finish because of a bruised back. And Williams, who had two of Buffalo's five interceptions, was playing at cornerback because the Bills were already down both starters, McKelvin and Stephon Gilmore (broken left hand).
The Bills held a walkthrough on Monday evening and listed Spiller as not practicing. Jackson, McKelvin, Aaron Williams, receiver Stevie Johnson (hamstring) and right guard Kraig Urbik (right knee) were among eight players listed as being limited.
Earlier in the day, Spiller limped noticeably on his sore ankle, but had ruled himself out from playing Thursday.
''If I can get to at least 85 to 90 (percent), I'm going to give it a go,'' Spiller said. A few moments later, Spiller improved his chances of playing, by saying he'd settle for 80 to 85 percent.
As for what percent he's at right now, Spiller smiled and shook his head.
''I don't want to say,'' he said. ''I don't want to give the Cleveland Browns any idea of where we're at. But I've got an idea of where I'm at right now.''
Jackson intends to play despite a wobbly knee.
''Barring any major setback, I'll be able to play,'' Jackson said. ''Right now it's just about strengthening it, doing some rehab type things to get the ligament stronger. But other than that, it's just about putting a brace on.''
Spiller and Jackson have accounted for 486 of Buffalo's 608 yards rushing this season. And they combined for 164 yards rushing against a Ravens defense that had allowed just 224 yards in its first three games.
McKelvin, who was hurt a week earlier in a 27-20 loss to the New York Jets, listed himself day to day.
Williams didn't make himself available to reporters in the locker room.
Gilmore won't be ready. The second-year player told The Associated Press he expects to have the pins removed from his hand next week, which means he's expected to miss another two games.
And then there's the uncertain status of starting safety Jairus Byrd, who has yet to play this season because of plantar fasciitis in both feet.
The Bills overcame all of those injuries to beat the Ravens.
It was a particularly validating performance for a young defense that secured the win by intercepting Joe Flacco a career-worst fifth time to end the Ravens' final drive. With Baltimore facing third-and-8 at Buffalo's 48, safety Da'Norris Searcy broke up a pass over the middle intended for tight end Dallas Clark.
The ball deflected into the air and was caught by rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso with 57 seconds left.
Buffalo limited the Ravens to 24 yards rushing, a week after the Bills gave up 182 yards rushing and 513 yards offense against the Jets.
''It just shows you, like I've heard Fred (Jackson) saying, `We're not the same Bills.' And we're not the same Bills,'' Searcy said. ''I would say fans are starting to believe. And we're going to keep believing and keep pushing.''
NOTES: The Bills have allowed just one rushing touchdown - their lowest total through four games since 2004. ... Buffalo had a season-best 36:26 time of possession, the most since 37:02 in a 2011 season-opening 41-7 win at Kansas City. ... With 87 yards rushing, Jackson moved into third - ahead of Joe Cribbs - on the Bills career list with 4,487 yards.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org