Injuries forcing Fewell's hand?

With Fitzpatrick and Edwards both down, Buffalo's head coach may need to play Brian Brohm...

Interim coach Perry Fewell, who still needs to win games to remain in contention for the permanent head coaching job, won't turn the season's final two games into a glorified preseason to give younger players a look.

The Bills were eliminated from playoff contention with Sunday's 17-10 loss to New England, but Fewell's goal is still to field the most competitive team possible.

Unfortunately for Fewell, he may not have a choice but to start No. 3 quarterback Brian Brohm against the Falcons this week.

Ankle injuries have sidelined both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Trent Edwards -- both were banged up against the Patriots, who notched six sacks -- and their status won't be known for certain until Thursday. But if neither can practice Wednesday when game-planning begins in earnest, it lessens their chances greatly of starting Sunday.

"It's really too early to answer that," Fewell said when asked if Brohm would start against the Falcons. "We'll see where these other guys are. We have until Wednesday or Thursday, so we'll wait and see."

The injuries to Fitzpatrick and Edwards could be severe enough to keep both sidelined the remainder of the season; reports are surfacing that Edwards suffered a high ankle sprain and Fitzpatrick had crutches resting in his locker stall.

Fans and media have been clamoring for Fewell to start Brohm since he was signed off the Packers' practice squad on Nov. 19. Fewell hasn't wavered in his desire to play his most experienced players and the ones he feels give him the best chance to win. But in this instance, he may have no choice but to the put the ball in Brohm's hands.

Brohm, a former star at Louisville and a 2008 second-round pick, couldn't win the Packers' backup job behind Aaron Rodgers and was relegated to the practice squad. He hasn't taken any first-team snaps in Buffalo yet or started a regular-season NFL game.

Fitzpatrick has been uninspiring in the five games he's started in place of Edwards, who was benched when Fewell replaced Dick Jauron. But against the Patriots, Fewell inserted Edwards into the game for a spark. Unfortunately for all involved, Edwards was hurt four plays into his relief appearance, injuring his ankle when bowled over backwards on a sack by linebacker Tully Banta-Cain.

Banta-Cain would later inflict an ankle injury on Fitzpatrick, as well, on a sack midway through the fourth quarter. Fitzpatrick finished the game in noticeable pain.

To add some depth, the Bills re-signed quarterback Gibran Hamdan, a three-year member of the club who was released last month. Buffalo cleared a roster spot by placing cornerback Terrence McGee on injured reserve. McGee, who had just returned from midseason knee surgery, hurt his right shoulder Sunday, and he will have surgery.


--QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has posted a 2-3 record in five starts since replacing Trent Edwards, suffered an ankle injury in last week's loss to New England and could miss this week's game at Atlanta. He was on crutches Monday.

--QB Brian Brohm, who signed with the Bills on Nov. 19, could earn his first NFL start this Sunday in Atlanta. Ankle injuries have sidelined Ryan Fitzpatrick and backup Trent Edwards, meaning Brohm could be under center. He was a second-round pick of the Packers in 2008.

--RB Marshawn Lynch, who missed three games to start the season for violating the NFL's conduct code, won't come close to topping 1,000 yards for a third consecutive year. With two games to go, he's at 447 yards on 116 carries. Lynch has been arrested in each of the past two offseasons and will be pressured to turn over a new leaf to get his career back on track.

--RB Fred Jackson, who has 811 yards rushing on 191 carries, has a shot at his first career 1,000-yard season. The Bills have two games to play starting Sunday in Atlanta. His work totals are career-highs, topping last year's marks of 130-571, and they should earn him team offensive MVP honors.

--WR Lee Evans is the only Bill with a catch in all 14 games this season, but that's little consolation. With just 35 catches for 520 yards, Evans is easily on pace to finish with the lowest numbers of his six year NFL career. His previous low marks were 48-743 in 2005.

--WR Terrell Owens needs two catches to reach 1,000 for his career and 153 yards to reach 15,000, but he's inching toward those milestones. He had just two catches for 20 yards in last week's loss to New England. Owens' production has tailed off greatly in recent weeks after a brief spurt.

--TE Shawn Nelson, the team's rookie fourth-round pick, continues to gain valuable experience after shaking a bout of injuries and earning the starting job. He caught four passes for 17 yards against the Patriots, giving him 17 catches for 156 yards and one score. He has a catch in nine of his 11 games played. The Bills haven't had a consistent tight end presence in the passing game for years and remain hopeful that Nelson can be that player.

--CB Terrence McGee, who had just returned from midseason knee surgery, suffered a right shoulder injury against the Patriots, and his season is over. McGee will have shoulder surgery, as an MRI revealed damage after a collision with WR Randy Moss.

--LB Bryan Scott suffered a concussion against the Patriots, and under stricter NFL head-injury guidelines, he likely won't play this week at Atlanta. His status will be updated Wednesday. The Bills are woefully thin at linebacker, which is why Scott, a normal strong safety, had converted to the spot. Rookie Ashlee Palmer likely would get the call.

--P Brian Moorman had his streak of 13 games with at least a 50-yard punt end against New England. His longest boot that day was 43 yards. His streak was the second-longest in club history, behind his own 14-game stretch in 2006.

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