Niagara Gazette

Sports

August 12, 2013

FIRST TEST A SUCCESS

Bills rookies impressive in preseason win over Colts

Niagara Gazette — INDIANAPOLIS — EJ Manuel’s teammates and coaches were pretty darn impressed with their rookie quarterback.

Buffalo’s first-round draft pick thought he could have done even more. Give him time.

After completing 16 of 21 passes for 107 yards with one touchdown and a quarterback rating of 102.7, Manuel gave himself a “B’’ in his preseason debut — a solid mark after leading the Bills to a 44-20 victory Sunday at Indianapolis.

“My main thing was I wanted to operate the offense like coach (Nathaniel) Hackett has taught us and get all the other guys in position,” Manuel said. “The veterans have done a great job of bringing me along and things like that. The main thing is just continuing to go out there and execute.”

Sure, it was only preseason and he posted most of the big numbers against Indianapolis’ backup defense, and, of course, there were a few mistakes.

But overall, Manuel executed the safe, simple game plan the way the Bills intended.

His short passes were accurate and on time. He sped up the game by quickly getting the Bills to the line. On the few occasions he ran, Manuel was effective. And when pressed to make plays in the 2-minute offense, he drove the Bills into scoring position and then fired a rocket to Dorin Dickerson for a 17-yard score that broke a 13-13 tie with 14 seconds left in the half.

It may not have been as impressive as Andrew Luck’s debut last season. He threw a 63-yard TD pass to Donald Brown on his first attempt at Lucas Oil Stadium, and led the Colts to a 38-3 victory over St. Louis.

Luck played only two series Sunday, finishing 4 of 6 for 51 yards and was the only Indy quarterback not to lead the Colts on a scoring drive. He was sacked once. Backup Matt Hasselbeck played three series for the Colts, throwing a 45-yard TD pass to T.Y. Hilton, and departed after a tipped pass was picked off by Crezdon Butler.

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