2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Manuel struggles as Bills fall to Steelers 23-10

By WILL GRAVES - AP Sports Writer
    2013-11-10 17:45

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The problem, EJ Manuel insisted, wasn't rust. It wasn't the wind or the sprained right knee that forced him to miss a month, either.

There were chances to make a difference in Sunday's 23-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Manuel didn't take advantage of them. Neither did anyone else on an offense apparently fatigued by the revolving door behind center.

''There were plays that I missed,'' Manuel said. ''I have just to get better from there.''

Shouldn't be too difficult.

Manuel completed 22 of 39 passes for 155 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his return, most of the yards and the only score coming during a meaningless drive in the final minutes with the Bills (3-7) already on their way to a third straight loss.

''The kid missed four weeks and just came back,'' Buffalo coach Doug Marrone said. ''He's trying his best. ... He's going through his footwork too quick and not (slowing) down to see things develop as quick. That happens to young quarterbacks.''

Particularly when they play the Steelers.

Pittsburgh (3-6) improved to 18-2 when facing a rookie quarterback since 2004, redeeming itself a week after getting lit up by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in a 55-31 loss.

The Bills managed just 227 total yards and ran for 95, 50 below their average. Manuel was sacked three times and never looked comfortable in blustery conditions that made going downfield a treacherous proposition. Manuel spent most of the day working in the face of a renewed pass rush and struggled with his accuracy when asked to do anything more than dump the ball to a running back.

Marrone never considered going to backup Thad Lewis, knowing his team's future rests in the hands of the 16th overall pick in last April's draft. Manuel was an immediate hit during an intriguing September. He hardly looked as polished while serving as Buffalo's third different starting quarterback in as many weeks.

''It doesn't matter who is at the helm,'' Buffalo wide receiver Stevie Johnson said. ''We have got to be able to come together as a team. It's not on one person or a couple players. This is a team game. We need to figure it out.''

Something the Steelers are still trying to do after a miserable first half of the season left them mired at the bottom of the AFC North. They took a significant step Sunday.

Ben Roethlisberger passed for 204 yards and a touchdown, Le'Veon Bell added 96 total yards and a score as Pittsburgh (3-6) snapped a two-game losing streak.

''I think we went out there and answered the call today,'' Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley said. ''We played like we're always supposed to.''

Even if it took some time for the Steelers to take control

Roethlisberger, like Manuel, had issues with his command early in the game. He underthrew Markus Wheaton on Pittsburgh's opening drive. Jairus Byrd stepped in front and returned it 57 yards to the Pittsburgh 29.

Led by C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, the Bills made it all the way to the Pittsburgh 1. Rather than test a defense that has allowed the second-most TDs rushing in the NFL, Manuel lobbed pass toward the corner of the end zone that sailed well out of bounds. The Bills settled for a field goal.

''What we saw on film was that we probably had a good chance throwing the ball,'' Spiller said. ''The wind did sail the ball a little bit. We just need to look at it and see what we could have done differently.''

The Steelers got back into it by taking the ball out of Roethlisberger's hands and relying on a running game ranked 28th. A 25-yard run on an end around by Emmanuel Sanders highlighted a 13-play, 58-yard drive that ended with Shaun Suisham's 36-yard field goal.

Pittsburgh went in front the next time it had the ball. Bell raced 34 yards to midfield. Roethlisberger then found Antonio Brown for a 24-yard gain before hitting Jerricho Cotchery with a pretty 5-yard touchdown to make it 10-3.

Any chance Buffalo had of rallying ended late in the third quarter. Roethlisberger connected with Brown for a 40-yard gain, and Suisham came on for a short field goal attempt. Buffalo jumped offside, and two plays later Bell used a block from tight end Mike Adams to give the Steelers' their first 14-point lead at home this season.

An interception and a 50-yard punt return by Brown helped Pittsburgh tack on two more Suisham field goals, allowing the Steelers to enjoy a brief respite from two humbling months while sending the Bills back home wondering how a promising start has begun to turn into a familiar finish.

''My frustration level is a 10,'' Johnson said. ''When you're losing games, nobody should be happy.''

NOTES: The Bills had four sacks, pushing their season total to 33, including a career-high five by DE Jerry Hughes. ... Johnson left with a groin injury in the third quarter and did not return. ... The Bills have lost seven straight regular season games in Pittsburgh. ... Buffalo hosts the New York Jets next week. New York beat Buffalo 27-20 on Sept. 22.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Drew StantonDec 17 07:33p

Arizona Cardinals QB Drew Stanton (knee) said this injury is different from any other he's ever had, and he said it's too soon to know if he could return [ More ]

Carlos HydeDec 17 07:03p

San Francisco 49ers RBs Frank Gore (concussion) and Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not take part in practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Jay CutlerDec 17 06:43p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will be benched in favor of QB Jimmy Clausen in Week 16 against the Detroit Lions, according to a source.

Jimmy ClausenDec 17 06:43p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will be benched in favor of QB Jimmy Clausen in Week 16 against the Detroit Lions, according to a source.

Philip RiversDec 17 06:13p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (chest, back) took part in a walkthrough Wednesday, Dec. 17, but didn't take part in practice, but he fully expects to play in [ More ]

Carlos HydeDec 17 05:43p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (knee, back) received good news from his MRI results, but he said it would take a miracle for him to play in Week [ More ]

Robbie GouldDec 17 04:53p

Chicago Bears PK Robbie Gould (quadriceps) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Cam NewtonDec 17 04:13p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) was listed as a limited participant in practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Frank GoreDec 17 03:13p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) visited with a doctor at the team's facility Tuesday, Dec. 16, as part of the NFL's concussion protocol. Gore did not participate [ More ]

Ryan MathewsDec 17 02:33p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) is not participating in practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

C.J. SpillerDec 17 02:13p

Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Blake BortlesDec 17 01:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (foot) was limited during practice Wednesday, Dec. 17, and is listed as questionable for Week 16.

Julio JonesDec 17 01:43p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in the portion of practice open to the media Wednesday, Dec. 17.

DeMarco MurrayDec 17 01:33p

Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) wasn't expected to do a lot at practice Wednesday, Dec. 17, but he took first-team snaps at running back [ More ]

Cam NewtonDec 17 01:23p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) returned to practice Wednesday, Dec. 17, and he worked with the second-team offense in the portion of practice open to the media. QB [ More ]

DeMarco MurrayDec 17 12:43p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) is participating in individual drills during practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

T Y HiltonDec 17 12:23p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is not participating during the media-access portion of practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Rashad JenningsDec 17 11:23a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) will not participate in practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Keenan AllenDec 17 11:03a

San Diego Chargers WR Keenan Allen (collarbone, ankle) said he is taking his injuries 'week to week.'

Denard RobinsonDec 17 10:13a

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Denard Robinson (foot) has a partially torn ligament in his foot, according to head coach Gus Bradley. Recovery time is six to eight weeks, but he [ More ]

Marc TrestmanDec 16 09:33p

The Chicago Bears are expected to fire head coach Marc Trestman, according to a source. The team's ownership met Tuesday, Dec. 16, after the team's Week 15 loss against [ More ]

Julio JonesDec 16 09:33p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is expected to be ready to play in Week 16 against the New Orleans Saints. However, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter indicated the possibility [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerDec 16 06:43p

Tennessee Titans QB Zach Mettenberger (shoulder) missed practice for the second straight day Tuesday, Dec. 16.

DeMarco MurrayDec 16 05:53p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) will likely be a game-time decision against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 16, according to owner Jerry Jones. Jones said the team is [ More ]

Julius ThomasDec 16 05:33p

Denver Broncos TE Virgil Green continued to lead the team's tight ends in snaps with 50 in Week 15 against the San Diego Chargers, even with TE Julius Thomas [ More ]

Aaron RodgersDec 16 05:23p

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is 0-2 with a 35.6 total quarterback rating at Tampa Bay in his career. He threw three interceptions in each of those games.

Blake BortlesDec 16 04:23p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (foot) was jogging, throwing and moving around well while being limited at practice Thursday, Dec. 16. He showed no signs of being limited by [ More ]

Colt McCoyDec 16 04:23p

Updating a previous report, Washington Redskins QB Colt McCoy (neck) was told by doctors that he only needs two to three weeks for the aggravated nerve in his neck [ More ]

Keenan AllenDec 16 04:13p

Updating a previous report, San Diego Chargers WR Keenan Allen (collarbone) could be placed on Reserve/Injured if the team is eliminated from playoff contention. Allen will not play this [ More ]

Ryan MathewsDec 16 02:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) did not practice Tuesday, Dec. 16.

Colt McCoyDec 16 02:33p

Washington Redskins QB Colt McCoy (neck) was placed on season-ending Reserve/Injured Tuesday, Dec. 16, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Keenan AllenDec 16 02:33p

San Diego Chargers WR Keenan Allen (collarbone) suffered a broken collarbone in Week 15 and is not expected to play this week. Surgery is not planned at this point [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group