Niagara Gazette


December 28, 2013

MEILER: Manuel finishes season trending downward


Niagara Gazette — He was OK in the opener against New England, had arguably his best game against the Panthers, then fell back to earth hard the following week at the New York Jets, taking eight sacks and completing just 19 of 42 attempts.

The rest of the season was a series of ups and downs. He was great at home against the Jets on Nov. 17 (20 for 28, 245 yards, 2 TDs), but had horrible games at Pittsburgh on Nov. 10 (22 for 39, 155 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) and at Tampa Bay on Dec. 8 (18 for 33, 184 yards, 4 INTs).

Now, the overwhelming narrative is whether or not the Bills are better (or, better yet, not worse) off with Lewis under center, the biggest issue being that it’s actually a fair question.

Manuel could still become a franchise quarterback. He’s shown the tools that led the Bills to draft him in last year’s first round, and the second offseason of an NFL quarterback’s career is arguably the most important. Manuel has eight months to get healthy and use his limited NFL experience to improve. Nothing should be new to him from this point.

Still, it’s a safe bet that most franchise quarterbacks weren’t teetering on the brink of a QB competition with an undrafted practice squad pickup seven months into their careers.

Respond to Niagara Gazette sports reporter Mike Meiler on Twitter @mikemeiler or by email at

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