Taylor and Manuel impress, make QB race even tighter in 11-10 win
Entering Thursday night's preseason game, the Buffalo Bills were still searching for a starting quarterback. Following an 11-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns, they're still looking for that No. 1 quarterback.
Matt Cassel was the presumed leader in the competition over Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel, but his absence from Thursday's win was somewhat surprising. Taylor played the first half, while Manuel took over in the second half, leading the Bills to victory in the final minutes.
Does that mean Cassel is the front runner by such a wide margin that he didn't have anything else to show Thursday? Or it could simply mean the Bills are looking more towards either Taylor or Manuel to become the starter.
No one really knows what's going through Rex Ryan's head, but both Manuel and Taylor played extremely well against the Browns, thus tightening the quarterback race.
"We did a good job," Manuel said to Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com. "When I had opportunities to make plays we did it. That’s what you’re supposed to do. That’s your job as a quarterback, facilitate the ball and get it to those guys who can make plays and run down the field."
In one half of football, Manuel was 9-of-14 for 111 yards and the game-winning touchdown. In the team's final drive, Manuel showed poise and pocket presence, going 5-of-7 to lead the Bills the victory.
As for Taylor, he dazzled both with his arms and his legs. He'd finish the night 7-of-10 for 65 yards through the air, with another 41 yards on the ground. The coaching staff wanted to see Taylor win from within the pocket, and he showed that ability against the Browns.
"Of course people want to see me throw from the pocket and I think I showed people I can do that," Taylor said. "It is still a game by game thing so I have to continue to keep doing, but just I think my overall game… I was happy with the way I played."
Both guys should be happy with the show they put on against the Browns, especially without the majority of first- and second-string guys on offense. The Bills' top-five running backs were sidelined with injury, as were four of the team's top wide receivers. Both quarterbacks displayed the ability to make plays without stars on offense, making their performances that much better.
Ryan has yet to determine who will get the start against the Pittsburgh Steelers next week, but one would assume all three guys will see the field -- especially Cassel. With solid quarterback play to go along with a menacing defense and strong running game, the Bills are a dangerous team.