Not all of his decision were sound on Sunday, but EJ Manuel made better and better judgments as the game went along. Here’s a closer look at EJ Manuel’s first NFL outing as we examine his decision making on some of his better plays in Sunday’s win over Indianapolis.
4:43 left 1st quarter – 3rd-and-6 at Colts 48 – Indianapolis shows cover-2 man defense and Manuel after going through his progressions chooses to tuck and run to a huge area of green space to his left and gains 24 yards on a scramble.
“I liked when they go ahead with two-man and it’s a critical third down and you see him run it and make a big gain,” said Doug Marrone. “I think those things are important for what we have to do moving forward.”
The drive ended with a field goal.
12:23 left 2nd quarter – 3rd-and-3 at Colts 20 – Off a three-step drop Manuel turns and fires in rhythm to Chris Hogan working a slant route over the middle for a seven-yard gain and first down.
11:16 left 2nd quarter – 3rd-and-2 at Colts five-yard line – Same drive and the Bills call a rollout for Manuel hoping the Colts would continue to play the receivers with inside technique so Manuel could put a pass on the outside shoulder of the receiver for a touchdown, but the Colts changed their coverage on the play with the defensive back playing outside technique. With a linebacker closing on Manuel and nowhere to go with the ball Manuel opts to throw it away out of bounds.
“He thought it was a great decision,” said Manuel of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. “Rolling out don’t try and make a play doing too much by trying to force a ball in there and then you get a deflection or an interception. We already have points. We’re in the red zone so throw the ball away and try to get three.”
Buffalo got a field goal on the drive.
1:13 left 2nd quarter – 2nd-and-5 at Bills 37 – Another three-step drop play where again Manuel is in good rhythm, cocks and fires a strike to Robert Woods working out of the slot for an eight-yard pickup and a first down.
:19 left 2nd quarter – 2nd-and-9 at Colts 17 – The Colts play cover two leaving Dorin Dickerson one-on-one down the seam. Manuel put the ball on his inside shoulder away from the defender in coverage to lead Dickerson into the end zone.
“I was just reading the defense there and they had two high safeties and Dorin ran the middle read and he was open and I just threw him the ball,” said Manuel.
“The two minute drill was impressive,” said Marrone. “We’re on the minus 5 and we’ve got three timeouts and a minute 50 left. To do that it’s very impressive no matter who you are so I was excited about that.
“What I’m looking for is how they react to things and are you just going to get better and better as the game went along. Not to say that he was settled in and everything was fine, that’s what it looked like. Now you just have to wonder how it’s going to be going forward, but you’re seeing some good things. I’ll tell you for a young guy going in there in my opinion I was very pleased.”
Tags: Chris Hogan, Dorin Dickerson, Doug Marrone, EJ Manuel
Posted in Inside the Bills