LONDON — The Buffalo Bills insisted they have no excuses for why they lost.
But NFL players view artificial turf as a league-wide safety issue, and in the locker room Sunday after several players were injured at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Bills were unhappy with the quality of the surface.
While not every Bills injury was related to the floor, All-Pro linebacker Matt Milano (knee, lower leg) went down in the first quarter and was at least done for the day. Jaguars left tackle Walker Little (knee) went down in the first quarter and did not return.
Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins, defensive tackle Ed Oliver, edge rushers Leonard Floyd and Kingsley Jonathan and nickelback Darren Johnson all needed coaches to look after them on the field at various points, but all returned.
Johnson called artificial turf “terrible” and said there was chatter in the locker room about turf being a problem.
“Get that floor out, especially that one,” Johnson said. “I love playing on grass. I’m sure 90 to 100 percent of the players in the NFL play on grass. I don’t know why we play on stuff like that.
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“There were injuries on the field today, some pretty bad. I have a feeling the lawn has something to do with it.
Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium has a grass pitch, similar to what the Arizona Cardinals and Las Vegas Raiders do – and then carpets like an artificial turf. It’s Hellas’ “soft-top” surface, the same one the Dallas Cowboys have at AT&T Stadium.
Bills receiver Stefon Diggs uttered an expletive, then paused for seven seconds when asked what he thought of the field. “That’s right. That’s what I’m going to say,” Diggs said with a smile. He said he’ll play any surface the NFL tells him to.
Inside the fight on NFL playing surfaces
Dawkins said the field was “weird.”
Linebacker Terrell Bernard added: “This is what it is.” Prompted to describe “what it is,” Bernard laughed and repeated the same five words.
Johnson crashed on a field goal fake with 5:29 left in the third quarter. He lay there, curled up on his side and thought his period was over. The injury cart arrived at the field.
“That lawn is horrible,” Johnson said. “My foot is stuck on the ground, but I’m fine. Thank God.
“It was harder than usual and it wasn’t used. I’m not saying that’s an excuse (for the loss), but that’s why I know my foot hit the ground.
Bills fans roared as Johnson dispatched the cart and left the field with trainers. “I did some tests on it and they felt everything was fine,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s fearsome game Buffalo was already down to its top two cornerbacks. Tre’Davious White suffered a season-ending torn Achilles tendon last week. Christian Benford missed Sunday with a shoulder injury.
(Photo: Peter van den Berg/USA Today)