The Buffalo Bills may have lost their top possession receiver for a while.
Josh Reed strained his Achilles tendon during the Bills' 25-16 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The injury occurred late in the second quarter and he did not return to the field after halftime.
As usual after a game, Bills coach Dick Jauron didn't elaborate on Reed's injury. Jauron may reveal more when he addresses the media today.
Guard Jason Whittle also went down with an injury. Jauron said he didn't know the nature of Whittle's injury. Whittle was replacing Brad Butler, who was out with a sprained knee.
Duke Preston, who started his second straight game at center, moved over to right guard and Melvin Fowler took over his normal center spot in the fourth quarter.
Losing Reed could hurt the Bills' passing game. He has been a reliable target for quarterback Trent Edwards because he runs good routes and has a feel for finding soft spots in coverage. Reed had two catches for 19 yards before getting hurt. He is the Bills' second-leading receiver with 26 catches for 288 yards.
"Josh is obviously a big element to our offense," Edwards said. "He creates mismatches on those linebackers inside. He's a big third down receiver for us. That might be part of the reason in the second half that we were not able to keep the drives alive."
If Reed is down for an extended period, it would mean more opportunities for Roscoe Parrish, who has been looking to get more touches in the offense.
"I don't know Josh Reed's status, but I'm always here," said Parrish, who has only 10 catches this season. "I always want a bigger role on offense. That's what I came in for, not to be a special teams player. Don't want to start a conflict, but I want to have more on offense and do what I do, which is make plays and do whatever I can to help the team."
Bills strong safety Donte Whitner expects to get an earful from Ted Ginn after the Dolphins' second-year wide receiver had the best game of his young career.
"I'll hear that all for the next week and during the season," said Whitner, who talks to his former Ohio State teammate regularly. "Ted had a great game today."
How about a game in which he set career highs with seven catches and 175 yards?
"That's a lot of yards," Whitner said. "I don't know if he had 175 coming into the game [he had 177]. One game, 175? He had a great game. Hats go off to the Miami Dolphins and Ted."
Whitner said he saw this coming a long time ago from his fellow Buckeye.
"I expected it at some point, but I didn't expect it to happen against us," Whitner said. "He's one of the fastest guys in the NFL, so if he can get off the ball and gets his hands on it he can be dangerous with it. He's a weapon for them. We'll be ready for him next time."
The Bills got their first exposure to the Dolphins' Wildcat formation, which features running backs Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams taking the direct snap from center and either handing the ball off or keeping it.
The Dolphins used the Wildcat seven times for 34 yards on Sunday.
"I thought we could have done a lot better," safety Bryan Scott said. "They came out and threw some different looks at us that we hadn't seen before and hadn't prepared for. We kind of had to adjust on the fly. It's a tough play to stop, but it's even tougher when they throw in a few new wrinkles."
Rookie tight end Derek Fine made his long-awaited debut after missing the first six games with a thumb injury. He got only a couple of snaps, but he did provide a key block on Marshawn Lynch's 8-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
"It's definitely something I've been looking forward to for a long time," Fine said. "It was real tough because I had never sat out before. It's frustrating watching our tight ends play, and there's only two of them, and there's nothing I can do to help. You just try to learn from them and wait my turn."
Jauron on his unsuccessful challenge of a Dolphins' punt that Jason Allen downed at the 3-yard line in the fourth quarter:
"Well, I thought that he might have re-established himself, and if he did that, you can't go out of bounds if you're the first to touch. But I thought it was worth the challenge. I hadn't seen the replay; I just saw it quickly on the field. I took a chance. I wish I had the timeout back or I wish I would have won the challenge. It would have given us those extra yards out but that's the way it goes."
Butler, defensive end Aaron Schobel, cornerback Ashton Youboty, receivers Stevie Johnson and Justin Jenkins, offensive tackle Demetrius Bell and running back Xavier Omon were inactive.
The Bills extended their streak of at least one rushing touchdown to seven games. The club record is 13 set in 1980.