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Bills notebook: QB Manuel rusty in return

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Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, 9:03 p.m.

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.”

Four-point swing

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.

Injury updates

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.

Conference call

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.

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @CHarlanTrib.

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