ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – In a year that's been plagued by major injuries, the Cowboys will be down another starter for their final game of the season.
Barry Church broke his right arm in the dying minutes of Sunday's 16-6 loss to the Bills. Church underwent X-Rays at Ralph Wilson Stadium and said the injury won't require surgery in the offseason.
"I won't require surgery, because it was a clean break," he said. "So basically I've just got to have a cast for about six-to-eight weeks, then I'll be good."
That's encouraging news, but it obviously means Church won't be available for the season finale against the Washington Redskins. That's a familiar development for the Cowboys, who have lost numerous key plays to injuries this year, headlined by the loss of Tony Romo to a broken collarbone – on two separate occasions.
"This season has been rough. We've had a lot of injuries," Church said. It's been a tough one, but hopefully we can finish strong."
Church suffered the injury on one of the defining plays of the game. With Buffalo leading, 9-6, late in the third quarter, Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor faced a 3rd-and-7 at his own 12-yard line. On a slow-developing scramble, several different Cowboys defenders had a shot at the young quarterback – but he instead managed to race for a first down.
"He's a slippery guy. That guy is super elusive, and he has great speed out there – and he's able to throw the deep ball good," Church said. "He was able to pretty much elude our rush for a while and make big plays off it. He's a great player."
During the play, Church said he attempted to strip Taylor, but he wound up colliding with another defender and suffering the break.
"Back by the goal line, he ran up – I went to strip the ball, and I guess somebody else came to hit him at the same time. They hit my arm instead," he said.
It doesn't sound as though Church will miss any of the Cowboys' offseason program, but it does cut short a productive season for the veteran safety. Church will finish the year with 117 total tackles, and he added a crucial forced fumble – which was recovered by Brandon Carr – in the third quarter of Sunday's loss.
"We had a lot of injuries, a lot of key players went down this year, but there's a lot of fight with this tea," Church said. "I appreciate the fight that the defense and the offense had. Hopefully we just continue to grow on that and get ready for next year."