Niagara Gazette

Sports

November 11, 2013

Bills coach Marrone upset over team's latest dud

(Continued)

Marrone's forceful approach Monday also stood in marked contrast to his dejected demeanor last week. That's when he acknowledged having difficulty getting past the lingering disappointment of a 23-13 loss to Kansas City. It was a game the Bills dominated for most of the play but let slip away as a result of three turnovers, two directly returned for touchdowns.

The Bills responded by coming up flat against the Steelers.

Their offense sputtered in rookie starter EJ Manuel's first game after he missed a month with a sprained right knee. Buffalo managed just 147 yards through 55 minutes before Manuel capped an 80-yard scoring drive with a 2-yard pass to Chris Gragg with 3 seconds remaining.

Buffalo's defense sagged, allowing the Steelers to convert 8 of 17 third-down opportunities, which contributed to Pittsburgh enjoying a 10-plus-minute edge in time of possession. Even Buffalo's special teams struggled, with punter Brian Moorman finishing with a net average of 24.2 yards on nine punts.

Receiver Stevie Johnson acknowledged frustration is beginning to set in with an offense dealing with growing pains that come with developing a young quarterback.

"It's testing patience," Johnson said. "We all want to do so good. We've got a great team here, and we're not getting the results that you work for. It's kind of frustrating. It's just something we've got to get through, and that's it."

Manuel's performance raised the biggest concerns in failing to deliver the Bills a lift after they went 1-3 without him. He rushed throws, missed open receivers and appeared hesitant in going 22 of 39 for 155 yards, including an interception.

His troubles were apparent from the start. Facing third-and-goal from the 1 on the opening possession, Manuel sailed the ball over Johnson's head on a fade pass into the end zone.

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