Bills notebook: QB Manuel rusty in return
After four weeks sidelined with a knee injury, quarterback EJ Manuel was wishing for a better return than he received Sunday.
“It wasn't the way I wanted to come back,” said Manuel, who completed 22 of 39 passes for 155 yards, one touchdown and one interception in a 23-10 loss to the Steelers. “I didn't feel rusty. I felt good. Obviously there were plays that I missed, and I just have to get better from there.”
Manuel, the team's first-round pick, sprained his right LCL while scrambling in Buffalo's loss to Cleveland on Oct. 3.
“I thought he was good enough to play,” Bills coach Doug Marrone said, “but I wanted him to play better.”
Adjusting to game speed was a significant challenge, Marrone said.
“His footwork was very fast today,” he said. “That's why you saw him going to check-downs quickly and not let some things develop. But you can't put it all on this guy right here. He's just coming back.”
The Bills had just four penalties for 30 yards, but one cost the Bills at least four points. While preparing to block a field goal, DT Marcell Dareus jumped offside. The 5-yard encroachment penalty turned a fourth-and-3 at Buffalo's 11-yard line into a first-and-goal at the 6. Two plays later, Le'Veon Bell scored a 2-yard touchdown to give the Steelers a 17-3 lead with 3:08 left in the third quarter.
Wide receiver Stevie Johnson left Sunday with a groin injury. Targeted 10 times, Johnson had three catches for 48 yards. Free safety Da'Norris Searcy (hamstring) and wide receiver Chris Hogan (concussion-like symptoms) also left with injuries.
A quiet day
Defensive tackle Mario Williams was credited with no tackles, sacks or quarterback hurries in Sunday's statistics. The former No. 1 overall pick leads the Bills with 11 sacks. Defensive end Jerry Hughes had two sacks Sunday, while defensive end Kyle Williams and Dareus each had one.
Buffalo finished 1-3 against AFC North teams. They beat Baltimore, 23-20, but lost to Cleveland, 37-24, and Cincinnati, 27-24, in overtime.