Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel couldn’t lead the Buffalo Bills to a Week 1 victory, but he had an otherwise impressive debut. (Photo: Kevin Hoffman — USA Today Sports)
BBD Editor: Dan Hope
If you’re a Buffalo Bills fan, there was a lot to be excited about in the team’s season-opening game versus the New England Patriots.
Between the second and third quarters, the Bills clearly had the game’s momentum, and outscored the Patriots 21-7 in that span. The defense showed significant strides from last season, making numerous stands in goal-to-go defense and coming up with three takeaways off which they scored 14 points. Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel had a very solid debut, completing 18 of 27 passes for 150 yards and leading two touchdown drives while throwing no interceptions.
The Bills lost the game, however, because they started and ended poorly. The Bills were outscored 16-0 in the first and fourth quarters, giving up two scoring drives in each quarter. They failed to sustain any offensive momentum in both quarters, and the Patriots — specifically wide receivers Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman, and running back Shane Vereen — made enough plays down the stretch to set up two field goals on the Patriots’ final three series.
While the Bills certainly must overcome their inability to close out the victory, putting themselves in position for said victory was an impressive start for head coach Doug Marrone, Manuel and the Bills’ defense.