EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (WIVB) — Earlier in the week, the Bills lost defensive tackle Justin Zimmer for the rest of the year with a season-ending knee injury that requires surgery and before Sunday’s game against the Jets, they temporarily lost another defensive tackle as Star Lotulelei was put on the NFL’s Covid-19 list.
As you can imagine, it made the morning more chaotic for Sean McDermott and his staff.
“Yeah, a little bit. You know it’s interesting, last year we tested every day and I don’t think we ended up having any positives on game day. We had quite a few of ours last year the day before the game, day before the trip or the day of the trip but first time in my recollection that I can remember having one on game day the morning of so we hope Star gets better and quickly,” McDermott said after the game.
“Not ideal but I’m real proud of the way the guys responded, the defensive line, the defense, everyone, the staff went into action pretty swiftly there.”
The Bills defense did respond in a big way coming up with five takeaways in a blowout 45-17 win over the Jets at MetLife Stadium. And with how much of an emphasis general manager Brandon Beane put on building the depth on this defensive line, losing Lotulelei wasn’t anything they couldn’t handle.
“Just the way we’re built it’s like everybody can play so we’re so deep on the d-line especially everybody can play so it was no panic and it was more so somebody else gets an opportunity,” Bills defensive tackle Ed Oliver said.
It’s still unclear how long Lotulelei will be out but the Bills are hoping he won’t miss next Sunday’s game against the Colts with running back Jonathan Taylor and that explosive Indy run game coming to town.
Heather Prusak is a sports reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2020. See more of her work here.