E.J. Manuel completed a handful of critical passes in the Buffalo Bills' last-minute game-winning drive Sunday.
But a certain incomplete pass may have been the most critical of all.
Manuel connected with Stevie Johnson, C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson on his first three attempts of the final drive -- two of which moved the chains -- and he went to Jackson again on the fourth. Jackson could've made the catch, but he was in the middle of the field and would've gained, in his words, a yard at most.
So Jackson intentionally dropped the pass, preserved the time, and Buffalo went on to win in the final seconds. The 10-plus seconds a completed pass would have eaten up could've been the difference between victory and defeat.
"That’s a great play by him. That kind of shows what type of dude Fred Jackson is for us," Bills offensive lineman Eric Wood told reporters Monday. "A guy that can really do anything for us. He’s probably the best chipper and pass blocker in the NFL as a running back. I know other teams have talked to us about it, him coming out of the backfield and waylaying guys.
"For him to make a play like that is just him being an awesome football player."
Jackson said he's "constantly aware" of time preservation during two-minute drills. The Bills are certainly grateful.
"I think if you’ve been around the game long enough you pick up on little subtle things that you can do to help in the two-minute drill," Jackson said. "That was just one of them that came to me right when I caught the ball."
Or didn't catch it.
Follow Nick @NickStDenis
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily