When the Buffalo Bills made E.J. Manuel the first quarterback taken in last year’s draft, there were plenty of people shaking their heads and wondering what they were thinking. Well, after a strong performance in a dominating win over the division rival New York Jets, we have a lot more answers than questions about Manuel and his future as an NFL passer.
Despite swirling winds and the aggressive New York defense, Manuel went 20-of-28 for 245 yards and two touchdowns. He made good decisions all day and showed a really good deep ball on a couple of occasions. The Jets’ defense can wreak havoc on young quarterbacks who are indecisive and hold onto the ball too long, but Manuel was sharp with his reads all day and got the ball out on time, and on target.
While it looked like the Bills were out of the postseason picture just one week ago, with a big win against another AFC Wild Card contender, they have put themselves in position for a late-season playoff run. Every year, we see a team catch fire down the stretch and find themselves fighting for a playoff spot in December, despite struggling through the first few months of the season.
That team always has a quarterback who steps up his game and plays at an elite level when it counts most, and after his performance against the Jets, you have to wonder if Manuel has that kind of ceiling the rest of this year. In the end, if Buffalo makes the playoffs this year, that will just be the icing on the cake for a season that has given them plenty of reasons to be excited about the future.
The Bills have been in the market for a franchise quarterback since the mid-90′s, and with performances like this, Manuel is quickly making the folks in upstate New York confident that they’ve found their man.