A week after guiding the Bills on an 80-yard, game-winning drive in the final two minutes, Manuel went only 19-for-41 and looked largely lost in Sunday's 27-20 loss to the New York Jets. He threw several balls to open receivers out of bounds, skipped other passes short and took eight sacks.
"Am I sitting here and am I disappointed? Absolutely," coach Doug Marrone said. "I can tell you this: EJ Manuel is disappointed, too. I think those are the things that we’ll work on to correct."
The blitz was even more disruptive Sunday than the eight sacks would indicate. Manuel took off six times but rarely had time to settle into the pocket, having to step up numerous times and scramble often. Manuel said he saw similar schemes throughout training camp and OTAs from the Bills defense, but he did a poor job of finding receivers in single coverage.
One of those receivers, Stevie Johnson, didn't necessarily see it that way:
"This is his third game in the NFL and he brought his team back from 6-17, 6-20, then brought us back to 20-20 and had us in the game. I don’t think that’s a bad game. That’s a competitive game out of a young quarterback."
In spite of the abysmal outing Sunday, Manuel's numbers aren't horrible through three games. He's completed 64 of 108 attempts for 689 yards, along with four touchdowns and an interception. But he's still not taking deep-ball attempts much, if at all, and Sunday could not even find his outlet receivers.
Marrone said the play-calling has not been altered in order to protect Manuel thus far. Manuel maintains he needs no protection:
"I think the best thing is to learn from it and move forward. It's a long season. We've got 13 games to try and get in this playoff run."
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