Niagara Gazette

Sports

August 30, 2013

Leinart struggles in Bills' loss to Lions

Niagara Gazette — ORCHARD PARK — Matt Leinart certainly didn’t look like the answer at the Buffalo Bills’ injury-riddled quarterback position.

Playing very much like someone who’s had three days of practice, the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner completed 3 of 10 passes for 11 yards and two interceptions in a 35-13 preseason-ending loss to the Detroit Lions on Thursday night.

Both interceptions led to Lions touchdowns. Leinart lasted just five series in a bid to continue his career after signing with the Bills on Sunday. Leinart has been out of football since not being re-signed by Oakland this offseason.

The Bills (2-2) scrambled to sign the 2006 first-round draft pick after losing their top two quarterbacks to injuries in consecutive preseason games. First-round selection EJ Manuel is recovering from a left knee injury, while veteran Kevin Kolb is out indefinitely with a concussion.

Coach Doug Marrone wasn’t happy in his halftime comments, with Buffalo trailing 35-3.

“You have two quarterbacks that have been here for about two days,” Marrone said, referring to Leinart and newly acquired Thaddeus Lewis. “Again, we should be playing much better than this. And that’s a concern.”

The only bright sign for the Bills came about 90 minutes before the game. That’s when Manuel took the field and threw a number of passes. Marrone hasn’t ruled out Manuel being ready for the opener against New England on Sept. 8.

If he’s not ready, undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel is in line to start. Since the NFL merger in 1970, no undrafted rookie has ever opened a season as the starter directly out of college. Tuel was given the night off because the Bills were wary of losing another quarterback to injury.

Lewis, acquired in a trade with Detroit on Sunday, fared slightly better than Leinart. He finished going 7 of 16 for 132 yards, including a 79-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Easley in the fourth quarter.

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