By Tim Graham
INDIANAPOLIS -- There are all sorts of ways to rationalize EJ Manuel's performance today in Lucas Oil Stadium.
He looked pedestrian early. But he was nervous in his NFL debut.
He looked sharp on his final drive. But he operated from behind his starting offensive line and faced the Indianapolis Colts' third-string defense.
He drove the Bills 92 yards for a go-ahead touchdown before halftime. But it's merely the preseason.
So I asked veteran Bills center Eric Wood: What should we make of Manuel's performance in a 44-20 victory over the Colts?
"It's a great way to set the tone," Wood said. "You never want to come out and lay an egg in the preseason. It doesn't breed any confidence.
"And from a team that hasn't won a whole lot in the past few years, coming out and playing like this in the preseason is what we needed to do."
Manuel began by completing seven of his 12 attempts for 39 yards on his first six series. He was officially tagged with a fumble on a botched handoff to C.J. Spiller.
In the two-minute drill, which Wood pointed out isn't much different than the Bills' up-tempo base offense, Manuel completed all nine of his passes for 68 yards and his longest play of the afternoon, a 17-yard scoring strike up the left hash marks to tight end Dorin Dickerson.
"It felt good," Wood said. "It felt pretty natural, considering a lot of what we do is similar to two-minute.
"But EJ's doing a great job of being comfortable out there. While we're going fast, he's not rushed, being precise with his calls that he needs to make and just executing the offense."
taggedDorin Dickerson | EJ Manuel | Eric Wood