The Buffalo Bills' 22-17 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday was nearly overshadowed when offensive right tackle Mike Williams went down with an apparent sprained neck in the third quarter.
Williams was blocking Jets pass-rushing defensive end John Abraham when he collided with defensive end Shaun Ellis. Williams was face down and motionless on the turf for several minutes before he was put on a stretcher and carried off the field by ambulance.
However, X-rays were negative and Williams was able to walk from the X-ray room to the locker room. He wasn't available for comment, but he was seen after the game wearing a thick neck brace in a corridor near the trainer's room.
Coach Mike Mularkey said the team's medical staff will re-evaluate Williams today.
The news that Williams was back on his feet was a sigh of relief for his teammates, who huddled in prayer while Williams was being attended to by the Bills' medical and training staff.
Williams gave the thumbs up sign before being loaded into the ambulance.
"Anytime you see somebody laying on the field like that you're concerned," quarterback Drew Bledsoe said. "He's a guy I have a lot of respect for and is an important part of this team. So that's the first reaction, being concerned for him."
Offensive tackle Marcus Price, Williams' closest friend on the team, spoke to Williams before he was taken inside.
"I gave him a quick prayer and told him that he's going to be all right," Price said. "After they put him in the ambulance, you could tell he was feeling a little bit better."
So are the Bills, who have been pleased with Williams' play of late.
"I think he's doing everything that everybody expected out of him when he was drafted," said Bills offensive line coach Jim McNally. "That light is going on. He's played very good football the last four or five weeks."
Rookie wide receiver Lee Evans has been a factor in the Bills' passing game, but never like this.
His 27-yard catch on third-and-8 allowed the Bills to eat up the last 2 1/2 minutes of the game to preserve their five-point win. The play was also part of a big second half in which Evans had a season-high five catches for 64 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Evans called it the best game of his young career.
"I made plays in critical situations, and I think it was a big growing-up experience for me as well," Evans said. "For me it's just a continual process of learning and getting better from week to week. Obviously, this was a big step."
Bills running back Willis McGahee's third 100-yard day came at the expense of former University of Miami teammate and Jets rookie middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
McGahee said he and Vilma were barking at each other the entire game.
"He hit me so hard one time, I felt like there was something in my throat that wouldn't come out," McGahee said. "I said, 'I can't let him see me give up.' He did his thing and we were talking trash. I was telling him, 'That's how we did it at the U.' In those days I used to run through him."
Some shaky clock management forced the Bills to settle for a field goal instead of going for a touchdown just before halftime after having a first-and-goal at the 2-yard line. The Bills didn't have any timeouts but still had time to run a play on third down. Instead, Bledsoe let the game clock tick down to five seconds before spiking the ball.
"It was a little bit of a lesson," Mularkey said. "I think we got caught with not pushing the clock up, which really hurt us. It screwed up the whole formation and screwed the play up. We tried to call two plays and ran low on the clock and had to use a timeout, which we didn't want to spend right at that time.
"The problem with the third down is, without any timeouts left, you can't run another personnel group. We talked about it on the phones, talked about it at halftime, what to do if the situation occurred again this year."
Lawyer Milloy's third-quarter interception was his first as a Bill and his first in a regular-season game since picking off Bills quarterback Alex Van Pelt as a New England Patriot on Dec. 16, 2001.
"It's been a long time coming," Milloy said. "I'm glad that it came in a win."
Wide receiver Josh Reed, cornerback Troy Vincent, strong safety Coy Wire, running back Shaud Williams, defensive tackle Tim Anderson, offensive tackle Dylan McFarland and defensive end Constantin Ritzmann were the Bills' inactives.