Buffalo Bills Week 5 Stock Watch
Buffalo Bills Week 5 Stock Watch
The Buffalo Bills were defeated by the Cleveland Browns six days ago by a score of 37-24. It was the injury to QB E.J. Manuel that was the big news coming out of the game for the Bills. He'll now miss 4-8 weeks and the Bills will try and move on without him for the time being.
The first action without Manuel was not pretty. The Bills were tied at 17-17 when Manuel was injured. They were about to go in for the leading TD and had built a large amount of momentum. All of that momentum was inflated before Manuel was hurt, and his replacement, Jeff Tuel, couldn't get the ball down field to anybody.
By the end of the game it was 37-24 Cleveland and the Bills were 2-3. Their defense tried to keep them in the game, but the Browns kept pounding them in the second half. The Bills were tired on defense as Tuel was unable to move the ball past the first down marker until his fourth series. Finally Tuel let the game go altogether when he threw an INT that was returned for a TD late in the game when the Bills were only down by six points.
The injury to Manuel wasn't the only reason that the Bills lost to the Browns, but it was a rather large one. They also had problems on special teams when punter Shawn Powell gave electric return man Travis Benjamin two easy punts to return. One was returned for a TD and one set the Browns up deep in Buffalo territory. Once again there were too many key penalties on the Bills to keep drives alive, and that has to be corrected.
For now here is whose stock is up and whose stock is down after the Bills' Week 5 game in Cleveland.
Stock UP: RB C.J. Spiller
Spiller only had eight rushes on the day, but it was the one that got to the end zone that counted the most. He went 54 yards to pay dirt on the opening drive of the third quarter. Bills fans have been waiting for C.J. to break one all year long, and they finally got their wish last Thursday. The fact that he did it on a bum leg makes it that much more impressive.
Stock DOWN: QB E.J. Manuel
Manuel's stock isn't trending downward because of what he did on the field; it's trending down because of all of the valuable time he is going to miss over the next few weeks. Manuel was learning how to become a winning QB in this league, but now that learning process will be placed on hold. The injury couldn't come at a worse time for Manuel and the Bills.
Stock UP: WR Robert Woods
Woods continued his impressive rookie season with five catches for 64 yards on the night. What's more impressive is that he was matched up against Joe Haden, perhaps the best CB in the league this season, nearly all night long. Woods would have had even more catches but Tuel missed him numerous times when he came in the game.
Stock DOWN: QB Jeff Tuel
Head coach Doug Marrone was so impressed by Tuel's preseason performance that he named him the starting QB for opening day before Manuel was cleared to play. Thursday's performance proved Marrone wrong on that one, and he responded by sending Tuel back to the bench after a horrible 8-of-20 performance against Cleveland.
Stock UP: WR T.J. Graham
I know two catches for 21 yards is nothing to go crazy about, but Graham looked a lot more crisp in passing routes than he had all season against Cleveland. He also made a pretty nice throw on a WR end around option that produced a PI call to set up the first Buffalo TD. Graham's versatility can be key going forward without Manuel.
Stock DOWN: Bills Special Teams
I was going to put Powell here, but I figured it would add insult to injury since he was released by the team after the game. The whole special teams will get the dishonor instead. Powell made some bad punts, but the angles by the punt coverage were nearly as bad and let the Browns set up field position and score a TD in the return game.