NFL pre-season: EJ Manuel plays for Buffalo Bills in win over Indianapolis Colts
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 12/08/13 10:31pm
Quarterback EJ Manuel in action for the Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills' first round Draft pick EJ Manuel played the entire first half at quarterback during their 44-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
Manuel got extended time under centre after Kevin Kolb injured his knee when he tripped on a mat during practice, and he produced a steady if unspectacular first half of football on his NFL debut.
The No 16 overall Draft pick completed 16 of 21 passes for 107 yards with one touchdown and a quarterback rating of 102.7, despite struggling to get going at first, as he got first crack at earning the starting spot.
"I think it is a milepost. It was my first time out there against the real deal," said Manuel. "I thought we did a good job as a team, going out there, still getting the win, even though it's pre-season, we still want to go out there and give a good product, to win games.
"Moving forward it's going to give us a lot of confidence. We've got another game on Friday. We've got to get ready for that."
It was a good night for the Bills overall, with running back CJ Spiller looking just as explosive as he did last year, the defence looking sharp and with four rookies scoring touchdowns.
Brandon Kaufman and Da'Rick Rogers both found the end zone and, although he did not, second round pick Robert Woods performed well starting in place of Stevie Johnson.
Receiver/returner Marquise Goodwin showed his big-play ability with a 52-year return followed by one of 107 yards all the way to the house.
Goodwin made the London 2012 Olympic Games as a long jumper for the USA, and his track speed and trickiness could make him a real handful both as a receiver and returner this coming season.
"There are a lot of things we can work on, but the rookie class they came in and we did what we were supposed to do," Goodwin said. "We did our job and as well as the vets. Everybody did their job and they made the Buffalo Bills organisation look good out there."
For the Colts, Andrew Luck played just two series before veteran back-up Matt Hasselbeck had a taste of the action with his new team-mates.
Former Oakland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey started opposite Reggie Wayne, but second-year man TY Hilton still looks to be Luck's go-to guy for the new season - as does tight end Coby Fleener.
Fellow tight end Dwayne Allen was on crutches with his foot injury, but coach Chuck Pagano expects him to be ready for their regular season opener.