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Points after: Buccaneers 27, Bills 14

Points after: Buccaneers 27, Bills 14 EJ Manuel fumbles during the second quarter. Tampa Bay returned the fumble for a TD during its 27-14 victory. (James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)


Quick highlights from the Buffalo Bills' exhibition loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Ralph Wilson Stadium ...

What it means: Oy to the vey. The Bills' starting offense looked atrocious, and their first-string defense was middling. The Bills' starters were outscored, 24-0, by the Bucs' starters at halftime. The Bills are 1-3 with one preseason game left.

Starters finally score: The Bills' first-team offense scored its first touchdown on its 19 preseason possession, then scored again on its 20th possession. Against the Bucs' backups, EJ Manuel connected with Mike Williams for a 14-yard touchdown on the first drive of the second half. Fred Jackson scored on an 8-yard touchdown run.

QB report: Manuel's fourth pass ended the opening drive with an interception. He also lost a fumble the Bucs returned for a touchdown. He was 19 of 28 for 198 yards and one touchdown with one interception. The Bucs sacked him four times. In the third quarter, Manuel was 10 of 10 for 131 yards against the Bucs' backups. ... Dennis Dixon was the surprise selection to quarterback the second unit and came in at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Dixon played one series. He dropped the ball three times while running, but he was ruled down by contact twice. Dixon's lone attempt was incomplete. ... Jeff Tuel finished the game. He completed eight of his 14 passes for 90 yards. He had an interception wiped out by roughing-the-passer penalty. Thad Lewis didn't play.

Play of the game: Bills gunner Duke Williams delivered a perfectly timed, skeleton-jolting hit on Bucs punt returner Solomon Patton with about seven minutes left in the second quarter.

Steven Means chips in for Bucs: The defensive end from Grover Cleveland High and the University at Buffalo played after missing practice time this week. Means chased Manuel out of bounds for a 7-yard sack in the third quarter.

Bills inactives: Wide receiver Sammy Watkins (ribs), tight end Tony Moeaki (hamstring), guard Chris Williams (back), defensive tackles Kyle Williams (leg) and Alan Branch (undisclosed), cornerbacks Bobby Felder (groin) and Mario Butler (ankle) and safety Jonathan Meeks (neck).

Preliminary injury report: Bills safety Da'Norris Searcy left the game with a stinger and did not return. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin departed with a neck injury just before halftime. Tight end Lee Smith was knocked out with a foot injury.

Coming up: NFL teams must cut down their rosters to 75 players by 4 p.m. Tuesday. The Bills wrap up their preseason schedule Thursday night against the Detroit Lions.

  • Polish Prince

    This is a bad team.

    No Offensive line, No run blocking, No pass blocking, No QB's and no Defensive Secondary.

    Plus Brian Moorman on Special teams looks like a geriatric.

    The best QB on the roster is Jeff Tuel who would be a third stringer holding the clip board on a real NFL contender. Sadly, the Bills will stick with EJ Manuel who is clearly a certifiable bust.

    Prediction: 2-14 ...maybe 3-13... and then a brand new coaching staff again.....

    • Paul Bruhns

      I feel you right now.

      • Polish Prince

        Hey, I am a passionate sports fan...but believe me, my Family, friends and career are way more important...

        That said, Life was a little better from 1988-1999 when the Bills were contenders most of the time.

    • Austin Hood

      An expensive bad team. For what?

      • Polish Prince

        I have no answer to that....:)

      • Andhra Pradesh

        More expensive than Tampa Bay? Got any numbers?

        • Austin Hood

          That's not the point. When lowest paid player on the team is earning a salary of $500,000 a year, that's TEN times the salary of the average fan, don't you think you owe it to the fans to win a few games?


          • Rollo Tomassi

            Apples and oranges !

    • Paul Kawalerski

      Good point about Moorman. Wasn't he pretty bad last year also?

      • Polish Prince

        I like Moorman, and he has done a lot for Buffalo...but he is what...almost 50? There is limit to leg strength

    • Buffalo Fan

      Your Tuel comment is laughable. Manuel went 10 for 10 against the same number twos that Tuel went against and did how much worse again?

      • Polish Prince

        You're laughable..!

        10-10 against the 2nd string? And EJ threw flutter balls reminiscent of Dennis Shaw. Even the TD pass was late, soft and behind the receiver.

        He didn't do squat against Tampa's 1st string and this is the level he will play in 2 weeks.

        Keep dreaming. but EJ is not an NFL QB

        And i said Tuel has back-up quality but at least he has an NFL arm

  • Pat Leary

    Toronto Bills-it has a nice ring to it.Twenty years of interchangeable bobble-heads.

    • Rollo Tomassi

      Get lost !

  • cheektowaga

    To may 2nd yr players.

    Need to pick up a veteran somewhere!

    • Polish Prince

      Does anyone have Doug Flutie's phone number? He is 52, but I will bet that he is still better than Manuel.

  • HarleyRider77

    It's going to be a long season already!!!

    • Rollo Tomassi

      What do you care ?

      Except for a chance to be negative and
      To demean?

      • HarleyRider77

        Please, at any time you wish...stick it!!!

        • Rollo Tomassi

          Very articulate !... Just what expected from you and your abilities !

  • Rich

    Don't despair Bills fans, Pegula and Bill Cowher will be in control for the 2015 season.....happy days will soon follow.

  • mike finnerty

    o,k....I have held my breathe and remained positive till now....I can't any a part ttime florida resident for a no. of years I watched Manuel perform nearly every game...unfortunately the same problems with the Seminoles are following him to the Bills...staring at receivers before he delivers the ball...happy feet which actually border on desperation and fright when he feels a defensive lineman approach before he hastily gets rid of the ball...I am certain that he gives a good interview, and coopted a very naïve football staff and seemed like the right young man to lead the bills to question is, did they hone in on leadership "potential" and did not even watch his college game films? can be a hell of a leader, but that quickly evaporates if you don't deliver....I cannot believe that Marrone fell in love with this guy after interviewing him, without any concrete evidence as to his ability on the field...if he thought he saw potential, then I have wasted my time as a fan...I should be a coach.
    Unfortunately, there are many fine young men that play professional football, but cream in the form of ability comes to the top...

    • fritz62

      My thoughts exactly, having spent a lot of time in Tallahassee the past 8 years, actually attending quite a few Seminoles games. It is claimed one of E.J.'s greatest attributes is his ability to maintain an even strain. At this point, that seems more of a detriment than a quality the Bills should be broadcasting to the media and the fans.

      I remember quite a few times, Jim Kelly, in the middle of a rough game personally, playing a lot better after getting hit and becoming angry. Did we see that with Manuel yesterday in the second half? I'd like to think a fire was lit under him, but it was against the second team defense. At this point I'm predicting a 4 win season: The Bills offense plays well enough in two games to win, and their opponents play so poorly in 2 games our Defense wins the game.

      • Polish Prince

        EJ can get as angry as he wants but that won't make him an NFL passer. Jim Kelly had the tools and the QB smarts to make a difference. EJ doesn't.

        As amateurish as they are, even the Bills coaching staff must know by now that Manuel lacks the basic tools to play the QB position in the NFL.

        Poor Bruce Smith, he must be so embarrassed..

  • turd ferguson

    undrafted rookie defensive end Bryan Johnson should have ripped off Manuels' helmet this week in practice and punched him in the head.... he's awful

  • gsk08

    One has to start to question the coaching staff if they believe this team can win in this league... EJ is a mediocre back-up, Gilmore is horrid and can't cover anyone, the O-line has regressed badly (Marrone is an O-line guy?), Hacket's play calling continues to confuse his team and not the opponent... I am betting under 5

  • buffaloboy

    This Bills team actually has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball....The only problem is Manuel is still a long way off from being a good...not great NFL QB. He doesn't seem to have that instinct good QB's have to slide in the pocket when the rush is look at the opposite side of the field FIRST before re-directing your eyes to your real intended target on the other side...A good to great QB has a "feel" for the pocket, the game...where to go with the ball. Manuel DOES not have it...He may become a serviceable QB but he WILL NEVER lead the Bills to the playoffs & certainly never sniff a Super Bowl...I would trade Spiller right now to the Patsies for Mallett...straight up. It could happen...Mallett has a better upside than Manuel, who seems like a nice young man...but not an NFL QB....The Patsies have 3 QB's...the Bills don't have one. (I'm a Bills fan since watching the Bills lose to the Cowboys in the Rockpile back in the early 70's)

    • Polish Prince

      I share your pain...I came along just after Booth Lusteg's wide right field goal attempt.....

      That said, I would try for Kirk Cousins instead. The "brainless trust" in Washington will stick with Griffin even though he looks like a flash in the pan

      • buffaloboy

        I'd take Cousins in a heartbeat.

  • horacepmanure

    Steve Tasker said it best - the Bills have four plays. I don't think the issue is with EJ being held back, I think the issue is that our offensive coordinator is in over his head.

  • Wayne Lester


    THE Doug Marone/ Nathaniel Hackett/ EJ Manuel Experiment is over and We, the Buffalo Bills fans, have had enough.

    We, the Buffalo Bills fans are offically protesting by refusing to pay the team and the NFL to see an inferior football team, which has given our good city of Buffalo and the surrounding subburbs a bad reputation throughout the USA.

    Buffalo Bills Fans.

    To join this protest like this comment... and don't forget to spread the word.

  • You can’t handle the truth

    The Bills are so lucky to have so many football experts sharing their comments in the paper! They will certainly take your suggestions and apply them immediately so they can go undefeated this year! I bet you all do your day jobs perfectly too and have all the answers! What an amazing group of people!!! You should start sending your resumes to all 32 NFL teams because they all could use your expertise! As for the rest of us, keep calm and cheer on...GO BILLS.

  • Wayne Lester
  • TheAtheistMissionary

    How much would anyone like to bet that Doug Marrone would like to trade E.J. for Nassib and take back the first round selection that they wasted on E.J.? Nassib (whose stock is steadily rising while E.J.'s continues to plummet) could have easily been selected in the 3rd round. Isn't it funny how Nassib played an integral role in Marrone's ascension to the NFL and Marrone's decision to take E.J. over Nassib could well spell his demise.

    • cheektowaga

      Nassib had something Coach Moron could never give any young quarterback…
      Eli Manning ...NFL experienced tutelage!
      Nassib is going places!

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About the reporters

Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.