Buffalo (WKBW) It's easy to overreact to preseason games. I won't.
There was plenty to like in the Bills 44-20 win over Indianapolis. Good start for new head coach Doug Marrone. Always something to work on.
EJ Manuel looked good in his NFL exhibition debut. Not great. Not terrible. Good. He still has work to do but the first round pick gained important experience and took a positive step forward in the victory. His development will be a process.
The Bills 'Quarterback of the Future" shook off some early jitters before settling into things against the Colts. Manuel played the entire first half and made plays with both his arm and his legs along the way. The rookie finished 16-of-21 passing for 107 yards and a touchdown at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The most impressive part of Manuel's day came on the two-minute drill at the end of the first half. The rookie led the Bills on 10 play 92 yard scoring drive and went 9-for-9 passing along the way. Manuel capped it off with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Dorin Dickerson and showed poise and patience on the drive. He took what the defense gave him, didn't force anything and finished his debut on a high note with the score.
If Manuel continues to take positive steps and show progress I don't know how he's not the starter in week one against the Patriots. Kevin Kolb will have to play lights out in his return to change that. If it's even a close competition I think it's Manuel's job to lose.
Other Thoughts from the game -
-While Kevin Kolb sat on the bench as the Bills third QB on Sunday the competition around him showed promise. Undrafted free agent Jeff Tuel played the entire second half and finished 19-for-23 212 yards and two touchdowns. Bills HC Doug Marrone says he hasn't decided if he'll keep 2 or 3 QBs. Tuel continues to prove his worth.
-Rookie WR Marquise Goodwin has been one of the standouts for the Bills offense at training camp. Sunday he flashed his big play ability in the return game. Goodwin showed off his elite speed in averaging 80 yards on a pair of kick returns. He blew peoples doors off when he raced for a touchdown with a 107 yard return in the second quarter.
He's been an exciting player so far. Can it translate to the regular season?
-CJ Spiller looks ready to go. The running back averaged 9 yards on four carries in limited action. His first carry of the game went for 17 yards. Who ever wins the starting job under center won't have to do it alone.
-15 different receivers caught passes for the Bills on Sunday. Marcus Easley led the way with 7 catches for 94 yards.
-The Bills are putting a lot on rookie LB Kiko Alonso and I think he performed well in his first preseason action. Alonso is athletic and tough. He finished with 3 tackles and a pass deflection. On one play he shed off a block to make the stop on Donald Brown in the first quarter. Later in the drive Alonso knocked the ball out of the hands of Coby Fleener in the endzone to save the touchdown.