The Buffalo Bills have done a decent job of protecting rookie quarterback EJ Manuel this season. That is until they faced the New York Jets on Sunday. There is no question a big reason why Buffalo lost in Week 3 was because of the inability to keep New York’s defense from getting after Manuel.
The Bills did not allow a sack against the New England Patriots in the first week of the season and gave up just one to a talented Carolina Panthers defensive front last Sunday. Unfortunately, the flood gates opened against the Jets in which the offensive line surrendered a whopping eight sacks. The fact is if Manuel was better protected, there is a good chance Buffalo would be 2-1 instead of sitting in the cellar of the AFC East division.
Bills head coach Doug Marrone understood going into the game that the line would have to give Manuel enough time to make some plays. That was simply the only way the team would be able to walk away with a victory, especially since the Jets have shown some potential on offense this season. However, certain big plays were unable to unfold because they did not have enough time to develop.
“We expected it. He expected it. It’s not like he didn’t,” Marrone said during his postgame press conference, according to BuffaloBills.com. “I think we tried to do some things. We made mistakes. It’s not just the quarterback and I think we can all understand that. We had some protection breakdowns. We had some things that we weren’t able to get open on. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I do wish I could say, ‘Hey, it’s just one thing’, but there are a couple of things that we just need to keep working on and get better at.”
The good news for Buffalo is that New York has shown that they are a team that can record sacks consistently. That means protection is something the Bills should not be overly concerned about. With that being said, it is definitely something that must be addressed and fixed prior to their Week 4 contest.