Niagara Gazette

Sports

August 17, 2013

Manuel impresses again as Bills beat Vikings, 20-16

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — The Vikings (0-2) again sputtered on offense without their top threat, running back Adrian Peterson, who continues to be rested through the preseason.

Starter Christian Ponder went 5 of 12 for 53 yards passing through five series. Backup Matt Cassel wasn't much better in a first half in which the Vikings combined for 74 yards of offense and four first downs.

"The only thing I could say to myself while that was happening was, 'I'm glad it's the preseason,'" Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "Let's get this out of the way now. We definitely don't want to be doing this in September."

And yet Frazier had to acknowledge having some concerns, even though he wasn't anticipating the Bills to come at them with an exotic blitzing attack.

"We could've done some things better, no matter what they did," he said. "We didn't execute as well as we could have."

Ponder certainly didn't see Hughes coming, when he was sacked for a 7-yard loss on the first play.

"If this was a game that counted, it'd be tough," Ponder said. "But it's more practice for us."

The Vikings could start by practicing snapping the ball.

Backup center Joe Berger snap the ball over Cassel's head and into the end zone, which led to Blatnick's go-ahead touchdown with 8:45 left in the second quarter.

The Vikings made the score respectable with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter behind third-string quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson. Running back Joe Banyard scored on a 1-yard plunge, and Bethel-Thompson hit Rodney Smith with a 35-yard touchdown pass with 4:36 left.

The Bills have won two preseason games for the first time since finishing 2-2 in 2010. And coming off a 44-20 win at Indianapolis on Sunday, they've now combined to score 64 points under new coach Doug Marrone. That's five more than they managed in four preseason games last year under Chan Gailey.

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