Much like in their first preseason triumph, Buffalo’s second and third stringers controlled the games as the Bills rolled to a 20-16 victory over Minnesota at home on Friday.
It was a victory marred with regret as EJ Manuel was forced to go through a minor procedure on his left knee, knocking the rookie out for at least two weeks. Manuel didn’t show any signs of injury during his time against the Vikings, putting together another nice outing and taking another step towards Buffalo’s starting job.
Manuel’s play, like against the Colts, was less about the tangible results and more about his presence on the field, for me. Racking up yards against second and third teamers doesn’t hold as much water for me as the operating efficiency that Manuel has shown on his two long touchdown drives. He appears to have a strong grasp of the offense and manages the game well. Obviously a 225 yard, two touchdown half would yield numbers that indicate Manuel’s play was beyond impressive; but in these shorter cameo’s the substance is less about the final stat line for me.
Kevin Kolb’s numbers serve as a good example of this. He finished the evening with a couple of quality drives which bolstered his box score a bit. However, his play within the first half left plenty to be desired. Manuel’s knee injury will keep Kolb afloat for now, but it seems like a safe bet that the rookie will lock down the top spot on the depth chart. Continue reading