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EJ Manuel's return "wasn't the way I wanted to come back"

Posted Nov 10, 2013

Bills quarterback EJ Manuel talked to the media after the 23-10 loss to the Steelers about what went wrong for the Bills offense, and how to bounce back from this game.

Re: On today being a rough return for him:

We didn’t capitalize on everything that we thought we could have. Obviously it wasn’t the way I wanted to come back and have my game off of the injury. I think there’s a lot things we can learn from. It’s tough right now.

Re: On the offense not establishing the run or the pass:

Yeah. I think obviously both sides. The defense played a good job, and they did a good job. Obviously we wanted to get the running game started, but we couldn’t really do that today. So, it makes the passing a little harder, running less. But sometimes that’s going to happen in the game and really it’s a matter of how you bounce back from it.

Re: On the challenge of resetting his internal clock as a quarterback after missing a month:

I don’t think that is a big deal with missing games or anything like that. You have to feel. You can tell when you have pressure. You can tell when guys are getting closer to you, so I don’t think being away or missing games has anything to do with the internal clock.

Re: On whether he felt rusty with his accuracy:

I didn’t feel rusty. I felt good. Obviously there were plays that I missed, and I just have to get better from there.

Re: On whether the wind was a problem:

No, I don’t think the wind was a problem.

Re: On the last drive of the game, which resulted in a touchdown:

I think that was just about having some pride about yourself. Obviously we could have just caved in and continued to run the ball out, but we didn’t. I think that was a testament to our team, the fact that we still want to finish the game strong and try to keep that momentum going into next week.

Re: On whether his reads primarily took him short today:

Yeah, for the most part. They did a lot of coverages that were deep and had deep safeties and things like that, so at times it was tough to stretch the ball down the field. So, you can only take what they give you. There’s no point trying to force balls down the field if it’s not there.

Re: On whether teams will try to have that type of coverage on defense over and over again:

I’m not sure. I don’t know. I guess teams are going to continue to scheme for us. If we can find things down the field, that’s when we’ll start hitting them.

Re: On third-down execution:

I think it always goes back to execution. The plays are there. I think it’s just a matter of executing them and continuing to drive and continuing to go forward. 

Re: On whether he feels like it’s September again in terms of his development:

I don’t think so. I felt like I’ve come too far, as far as what I’ve learned, not just physically, but also mentally. I’m not going to let a performance like this or a loss or anything take me down. I’m going to continue to try to get better and stay positive and move forward to next week.

Re: On whether his first read was always covered and whether it was frustrating:

Yeah, sometimes that’s going to happen when you’re playing good defenses. Their coach did a good job scheming for us. Sometimes the first read was covered and the second read too. We just have to continue to get better and find a way to make plays.

On the fade pass to WR Stevie Johnson:

We had a run called and seeing that Stevie was one-on-one by himself to the corner, I just threw him a fade ball.

On the audible call at the end of the game:

We had an audible. One of the guys just missed it. We had the correct call. We saw all out and firmed up the pocket and everything. Just one of the guys missed it. So like I said, we have to get better all around.

Re: Lack of establishing the running game hurt your performance today:

I am not going to make the excuse, saying we didn’t have the run game as well as we have had in the past weeks affect me. I think it would have helped. It’s always a good thing to have, the run game. That way you can play-action and try to get the linebackers to jump up a little more, and then you can get the ball down the field. It wasn’t there today. Like I said, you have to take it for what it is and move forward to next week.

Re: Good field position on your early drives but only got three points:

That’s the thing. When you get down within the red zone, you really have to capitalize and score. When you only get three points and the other team gets three or seven, it catches up to you in the long run. That’s another thing we have to continue to get better at, those third-down and red zone challenges.