The first quarter was rather ho-hum for EJ Manuel in his NFL debut for the Bills against the Colts in Indianapolis Sunday. Come the second quarter that all changed as Manuel settled in and executed with consistency as the Bills turned an early deficit into a rout in a 44-20 victory for Doug Marrone in his head coaching debut. Early on there was an aborted play that led to lost fumble early as Manuel went 3-5 passing for 25 yards on the first two drives the second of which resulted in a field goal. Early on his timing was slightly off with his receivers on a couple of throws but by the end of the half he capped his first half of work with a touchdown drive. Buffalo was down 10-3 after one quarter of play with Dustin Hopkins 24-yard field goal the only points for the Bills to that point. Manuel went 12-14 passing in the second quarter with a touchdown. After a three-and-out on Buffalo’s initial possession in the second quarter the Bills got the ball back two plays later when Crezdon Butler intercepted a Matt Hasselbeck pass that was tipped at the line by Manny Lawson at the Indianapolis 27. Three plays after converting a 3rd-and-3 on a well-timed slant pass to Chris Hogan Manuel and the offense were facing a 3rd-and-2 at the Colts five-yard line. Manuel rolled right but with no open targets and a linebacker closing on him the rookie signal caller wisely threw the ball away and took a 23-yard Dustin Hopkins field goal to pull Buffalo within four (10-6). After the Colts responded with a field goal drive of their own Marques Goodwin had the most impressive play of the day as he took a kickoff from seven yards deep in the end zone the distance outracing Colts coverage players 107 yards for a touchdown and a 13-10 Bills edge with just under eight minutes left in the half. Buffalo’s defense stopped the Colts second team offense just shy of the two-minute warning at the Indianapolis 41. Colts punter Pat McAfee did a very good job of pinning the Bills deep in their own territory at their own eight-yard line with 1:50 remaining. Buffalo had all of their timeouts at their disposal. Manuel led the drive with a short out throw to Robert Woods on the left side for a five-yard gain. None of his next five passes went for more than eight yards but they were all complete and kept moving the chains.
EJ Manuel sharp in Buffalo Bills’ debut
Toronto Star | Aug 11