Bills quarterback EJ Manuel did what Buffalo asked Sunday.
He was solid in the short-passing game, showed he could occasionally run and even led the Bills to a touchdown in the hurry-up offense. He made some mistakes, too, like botching a handoff to C.J. Spiller.
But new coach Doug Marrone had to like what he saw.
Manuel wound up 16 of 21 for 107 yards and gave Buffalo its first lead with a 17-yard TD pass late in the first half, leading the Bills to a 44-20 preseason victory at Indianapolis.
Manuel wasn’t even the most impressive rookie for the new-look Bills.
Backup quarterback Jeff Tuel, an undrafted rookie out of Washington State, replaced Manuel in the third quarter and started with 10 straight completions. He led Buffalo to three scoring drives and finished 19 of 23 for 212 yards with two TDs and a rating of 134.1.
Only three of Manuel’s completions went for more than nine yards and two of the incompletions were throwaways.
It wasn’t nearly as impressive as Andrew Luck’s debut last season. Luck threw a 63-yard TD pass on his first pass attempt and led the Colts past St. Louis, 38-3. Luck was 4 of 6 for 51 yards in two series Sunday. Backup Matt Hasselbeck had one TD pass and one interception in three series.
The Bills rookie receivers also had a big impact. Marquise Goodwin, an Olympic long jumper with world-class speed, set up the Bills’ first scoring drive with a 53-yard kickoff return and tied it with a 107-yard kickoff return. Da’Rick Rogers opened the second half by catching a 6-yard TD pass to make it 27-13.
Around the league
Baltimore has agreed in principle to a contract with tight end Dallas Clark and re-signed wideout Brandon Stokley to a one-year contract. … Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith was cleared by trainers and fully participated in practice despite a sore right ankle that shortened his debut at Detroit Friday night. … Carolina coach Ron Rivera says backup fullback Mike Zordich has torn the ACL in his left knee and will be placed on IR this week.