2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Bills lose Watkins early, fall to Steelers 19-16

By WILL GRAVES - AP Sports Writer
    2014-08-16 23:31

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Buffalo quarterback EJ Manuel welcomed the opportunity to watch Ben Roethlisberger practice this week, certain he could glean something from the way Pittsburgh star goes about his job.

Apparently, there's still much to learn. For Manuel and his rebuilding club both, particularly if they have to carry on without Sammy Watkins.

Manuel passed for 148 yards in a half of work but failed to lead the Bills to the end zone yet again in a 19-16 loss to the Steelers on Saturday night. Watkins, the fourth overall pick in the draft, left in the first quarter with a rib contusion and did not return.

Buffalo coach Doug Marrone declined to elaborate on the former Clemson player's status. The Bills (1-2) host Tampa Bay next Saturday.

''They're going to run tests and everything and we'll see how he is,'' Marrone said.

With Watkins sidelined, the Bills were given a somewhat sobering glimpse of what they might look like without the fourth overall pick in the draft. Manuel completed 17 of 27 passes with an interception as Buffalo's first-string offense continued to have trouble turning yards into points.

Four times the Bills drove into Pittsburgh territory in the first half only to come away with a pair of Dan Carpenter field goals and two failed fourth-down attempts.

''The whole night I thought we were moving,'' Manuel said. ''We had long drives, 86-yard drives. We just didn't capitalize in the red zone.''

Something that's become an alarming trend with the preseason more than half over. Marrone abandoned his original game plan in hopes of getting something going. He kept the starters in the entire first half looking for a spark.

He's still waiting. So are his players.

''We just have to finish,'' tight end Scott Chandler said. ''We have to get in the end zone.''

Manuel played well during a pair of joint practices with the Steelers this week and some of it carried over under the lights. Buffalo (1-2) moved the ball with relative ease during a half in which the first-string offense racked up 212 total yards.

All those first downs, however, translated into just six points.

''In the two games that we've lost this year, we've had a lot of opportunities,'' Marrone said. ''We have to be able to score more and not give up the big plays early on.''

Roethlisberger, working with an offense he insists can be one of the more explosive in the league, threw a pair of touchdowns in just over a quarter of play. He hit Brown in stride on Pittsburgh's second play from scrimmage and the Pro Bowl receiver ran away from a pair of defenders on his way to a 76-yard score.

''It was a great read by Ben,'' Brown said. ''The defensive back got caught up with another guy. Ben hit me in the spot and I was able to get up to speed and turn the corner.''

The Steelers (1-1) got the ball back moments later when rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier - who missed the preseason opener with a right knee injury coach Mike Tomlin called a ''boo boo'' - showcased why Pittsburgh took him with the 15th pick in the first round. Shazier stepped in front of Manuel's pass intended for Chandler and returned it 27 yards to the Buffalo 37.

The play highlighted a breakout night for Shazier, who finished with 11 total tackles in addition to his pick.

Working almost exclusively out of the no huddle, the Steelers took advantage. Facing third-and-11 at the Buffalo 16, Roethlisberger waited for Wheaton to beat Stephon Gilmore to the left corner. Wheaton's hauled it in before tumbling out of bounds to make it 13-3.

Roethlisberger played one more series before giving way to the backups.

''The communication was what I wanted to work on, and we didn't have mental errors of what I saw so far,'' Roethlisberger said. ''It was a good start to the no huddle.''

The Bills operated at nearly the same pace, just without the same result.

Twice Marrone had his starters go for it on fourth down in Pittsburgh territory in the first half.

And twice they came up short. Manuel's pass to T.J. Graham on fourth-and-1 at the Pittsburgh 21 was knocked down by defensive lineman Cam Heyward. Manuel returned for one final drive at the end of the half and moved the ball to the Pittsburgh 3 only to see his fourth-down throw to Chandler batted away by Robert Golden.

''It would have been good if we would have finished with a touchdown on one of those drives,'' Chandler said. ''Wish we would have made it on that last one.''

---

AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Jimmy StatenNov 26 09:43p

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent DT Jimmy Staten (Seahawks) to their practice squad Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also released OT Andrew McDonald from their practice squad.

Marcus ThigpenNov 26 09:03p

The Buffalo Bills claimed WR Marcus Thigpen off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also waived DE Bryan Johnson.

Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

The Tennessee Titans waived TE Richard Gordon Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Dwayne AllenNov 26 07:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

C. PattersonNov 26 06:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jerick McKinnonNov 26 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Brandon LaFellNov 26 06:03p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jace AmaroNov 26 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

Reggie BushNov 26 04:53p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back) was limited in practice for the third straight day Wednesday, Nov. 26, and is questionable for Week 13 against the Chicago Bears.

Jordan CameronNov 26 04:43p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) remains day-to-day, but the team is looking for him to practice symptom-free this week, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Jordan ReedNov 26 04:13p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

R. Griffin IIINov 26 02:53p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III needs more seasoning, and he'll likely do it from the bench for the rest of this season, according to head coach Jay Gruden. [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 26 02:33p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) has an excellent chance to return in Week 13 against the Tennessee Titans after missing the last two games.

Mark SanchezNov 26 02:23p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez has thrown six interceptions this year, but all of them haven't been game-changing turnovers. In Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, Sanchez thrived on [ More ]

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 01:53p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) felt some progress in his sprained left medial collateral ligament Tuesday, Nov. 25, according to head coach Bruce Arians. Fitzgerald was pretty upset [ More ]

Julius ThomasNov 26 01:23p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited at practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Phil LoadholtNov 26 12:33p

Minnesota Vikings OT Phil Loadholt (pectoral) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Geno SmithNov 26 12:23p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith will return to the starting quarterback role in Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins, after QB Michael Vick saw only three starts. The [ More ]

Timothy WrightNov 26 10:43a

New England Patriots TE Tim Wright has 23 catches on 26 targets this season. 'Every time we throw to him it's a touchdown - we'll try to find him [ More ]

R. Griffin IIINov 26 09:43a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III has officially been benched in favor of QB Colt McCoy in Week 13. Head coach Jay Gruden informed the team Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Colt McCoyNov 26 09:43a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III has officially been benched in favor of QB Colt McCoy in Week 13. Head coach Jay Gruden informed the team Wednesday, Nov. 26.

R. Griffin IIINov 25 11:43p

The Washington Redskins are planning on benching QB Robert Griffin III for the Week 13 game against the Indianapolis Colts in favor of QB Colt McCoy. However, Griffin still [ More ]

Jace AmaroNov 25 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (concussion) is in concussion protocol, according to head coach Rex Ryan, after suffering the concussion in Week 12 against the Buffalo Bills.

R. Griffin IIINov 25 04:23p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III was named the starter for Week 13 against the Indianapolis Colts Monday, Nov. 24, by head coach Jay Gruden, but he left open [ More ]

Michael BushNov 25 04:13p

The Arizona Cardinals signed free-agent RB Michael Bush (Bears) and cut RB Kerwynn Williams Tuesday, Nov. 25.

Brandon McManusNov 25 03:43p

The Denver Broncos waived PK Brandon McManus Tuesday, Nov. 25.

Connor BarthNov 25 03:43p

The Denver Broncos signed free-agent PK Connor Barth (Buccaneers) to an undisclosed deal Tuesday, Nov. 25, after waiving PK Brandon McManus, according to a source.

Reggie BushNov 25 03:13p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) said he'll be ready to play Thursday, Nov. 27, after missing Week 12 with an ankle injury.

Latavius MurrayNov 25 02:43p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) will undergo baseline testing for his concussion Tuesday, Nov. 25, according to a league source. He is feeling good, but he must go [ More ]

Brian HoyerNov 25 01:53p

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer was never in danger of being benched in favor of QB Johnny Manziel in the team's Week 12 win over the Atlanta Falcons, according [ More ]

Blake BortlesNov 25 01:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles went 15-for-27 for just 146 yards and an interception in the team's Week 12 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and he hasn't tossed a [ 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