By Tim Graham
Quick highlights from the Buffalo Bills' heartbreaking loss to the New England Patriots in Ralph Wilson Stadium ...
What it means: Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel played a clean game, and the Bills' defense capitalized on some fortunate bounces to nearly propel them past the heavily favored defending AFC East champions.
Bills star of the game: With running back C.J. Spiller struggling to gain yards, Fred Jackson became the featured offensive player. He finished with 13 carries for 67 yards and four catches for 41 yards.
Patriots star of the game: Wide receiver Danny Amendola made several clutch receptions and kept the chains moving. He finished with 10 catches for 104 yards.
Play of the game: Patriots running Stevan Ridley fumbled while making a cut but wasn't touched. Bills safety Da'Norris Searcy picked up the ball and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown with 8:25 left in the second quarter.
Swing moment of the game: With barely more than a minute left in the first half and the Bills down by 10 points, cornerback Justin Rogers made a fantastic interception at the Patriots' 37-yard line on a Tom Brady pass intended for tight end Zach Sudfeld. Two plays later, Manuel threw his first NFL touchdown and Robert Woods caught his first NFL touchdown. Then the Bills scored on the first possession of the second half -- Manuel to Stevie Johnson -- for a 21-17 lead they very nearly held onto.
Stat line of the game: Manuel completed 18 of his 27 throws for 150 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in his NFL debut. He also ran three times for 23 yards.
Stat line of the game II: The Bills' first quarter consisted of 38 yards of offense, a fumble, a near-interception and four penalties for 35 yards.
Penalties a problem: The Bills committed 13 penalties. Ten of them were accepted for losses of 75 yards.
Preliminary injury report: Bills receiver Marquise Goodwin left right before halftime with a hand injury and did not return. ... Searcy missed much of the fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury.
Coming up: The Bills will host the Carolina Panthers at 1 p.m. next Sunday in Ralph Wilson Stadium.
taggedC.J. Spiller | Da'Norris Searcy | EJ Manuel | Fred Jackson | Points after | Robert Woods | Stevie Johnson