Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bills a step closer to giving keys to E.J. Manuel


The Buffalo Bills drafted E.J. Manuel to be the quarterback of the (near and long-term) future. The future is looking more and more like now.

Manuel has been trending toward an opening day start since the beginning of training camp, and Friday night's preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings certainly didn't impede. The first-round rookie stepped in in the second half to connect on 10 of 12 passing attempts for 97 yards and a touchdown.

Veteran Kevin Kolb, who is battling Manuel for the starting job, spent the first half getting booed after throwing an interception on his second attempt.

Kolb finished the evening 13 of 21 for 111 yards with the interception and no touchdowns. It was his first appearance in real game action with the Bills, as he missed the team's first exhibition game following a knee injury and a short hiatus from the team for personal reasons.

After out-dueling Kolb in the early part of training camp, Manuel was more than servicable in a full half of action in the Bills' preseaon opener. He settled into a groove at the end of the first half of that game and led the team to a score on a two-minute drill.

Friday night, he picked up where he left off, completing each of his first six pass attempts en route to a touchdown strike to Brad Smith. The Bills won, 20-16.

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