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E.J. Manuel’s return: a rusty performance

Photo Credit: T. Bennett

When I heard that E.J. Manuel was starting for the Buffalo Bills this week against the Pittsburg Steelers, I was excited.  However, after Jairus Byrd’s interception in the first quarter, there was nothing left in terms of excitement.  Buffalo’s 23-10 loss to the Steelers was just plain dreadful!

So, what happened to one of the most recently re-vamped NFL teams? As I watched Manuel try to create some magic, I kept asking myself one thing:

Is E.J. ready to play?  E.J. Manuel looked downright uncomfortable! I understand that he has had four weeks off, but did Doug Marrone put him out there too early? Manuel misfired throughout the game and did not read the Steelers defense well.

Only throwing one touchdown in the last 3 seconds of the game, Manuel’s game numbers did not reflect the expectations of Buffalo fans looking for a crucial win against their AFC rival.   Manuel ended with just 155 total yards and a costly interception.  The Bills’ QB was not happy with his performance.

“Obviously, this isn’t the way I wanted to come back,” said Manuel, as stated on www.foxnews.com.

I am also questioning cornerback Stephon Gilmore’s readiness. He got beat on a lot of plays and has not been up to par the past couple of games.

Wildcard chances. The loss to Pittsburg has thrust Buffalo into a tighter spot than what they were already in.  The Bills need to win every game to get to a 9-7 record, which may not even be enough to advance to post-season play.  On the other end, our schedule is definitely easier than the first half of our season.  Atlanta and Jacksonville should be wins for Buffalo.

As my brother would always say around this time in the Buffalo’s season, “The Bills are not mathematically out yet.”

With or without the math, the thing that makes it even tougher is that at 8-1, the Denver Broncos should snag the fifth Wildcard Spot.  The monkey wrench? Peyton Manning is getting an MRI on his ankle, the results unknown.  Not having Manning for the rest of the season could make things crumble for the Broncos.  The probable reality?  Denver would only need one win to tie a Bills’ miraculous 9-7 finish.

The four gamers. The Titans, Browns, Chargers, Dolphins, and now Pittsburg all have four wins, one more than the Bills.  The Ravens also have four wins. Our best chance would be to tie Baltimore for a Wildcard spot, our victory against them declaring Buffalo the sixth seed winner.  A tie with the Browns does nothing, Cleveland beating the Bills earlier in the season.

AFC East. We can change things by beating the Dolphins and Jets, a 9-7 tie with Miami also boosting us to the sixth spot.   New York is a game up on us, making it rough to catch up to them. At 7-2, the Patriots should win the AFC East.

Who knows what will happen next week against the New York Jets.  You know that famous line:

“On any given Sunday. . . ”


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Written by Erica N.

Since the age of four, Erica has been a longtime fan of the Buffalo Bills.  An avid sports fan, she has coached girls’ softball and assisted in little league tee-ball. Erica has a degree in Mental Health Counseling and teaches General Psychology. She has worked with teenagers, deaf high school students, and individuals with traumatic brain injuries.  She has written articles on health, parenting, and psychology.  Her publishing credits include LGBT Parenting articles, FATE Magazine, and a Subject Matter Expert on Clinical Psychology for a college admissions website.

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