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Third-quarter analysis: Worst-case scenario

By Jay Skurski

Bills Nation is holding its collective breath.

Rookie franchise quarterback EJ Manuel suffered a right knee injury tonight against the Cleveland Browns during a wild third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Manuel was hurt after he scrambled for a 14-yard gain to the Browns’ 13-yard line midway through the quarter. He took a hit directly on his right knee from Browns safety Tashaun Gipson and stayed down as a half dozen trainers came out to look at him.

Manuel walked to the sideline under his own power. He continued to be looked at by trainers before jogging off to the locker room with 5:35 remaining in the third quarter.

Manuel’s injury cast a shadow over a wild quarter in which the Bills tied the game, then went up by a touchdown only to see the Browns come back and tie it again at 24-24.

Buffalo opened the second half with a three-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in which running back C.J. Spiller ran 54 yards for a score on one ankle. After forcing three and out on defense, the Bills took the lead on their next possession, going 55 yards in 12 plays. After Manuel was hurt, rookie backup Jeff Tuel handed off twice. Tuel’s first pass was intended for tight end Scott Chandler in the end zone. Chandler was interfered with on the play, setting up the Bills with a  first and goal from the Cleveland 1-yard line. Running back Fred Jackson scored on the next play.

Browns bounce back: Cleveland backup quarterback Brandon Weeden connected with receiver Josh Gordon on a 37-yard touchdown pass on Cleveland’s next possession to tie the game. Gordon beat Aaron Williams for the touchdown. The Browns covered 89 yards in just two plays, as Weeden started the drive with a 47-yard completion to Greg Little, who also beat Williams. (The Bills also had a 5-yard penalty).

Tuel struggles: The Bills’ offense looked completely lost in the two drives started by Tuel, going three and out each time. Tuel went 0 for 3 and was sacked for a loss of 7 yards on another play.

Powell having issues: Bills punter Shawn Powell is Struggling. With the capital 'S.' Powell had one of his punts returned in the second quarter for a 79-yard touchdown. Powell's two punts in the third quarter went 39 and 34 yards, respectively.


Aaron Williams | C.J. Spiller | EJ Manuel | Fred Jackson | Jeff Tuel | Scott Chandler | Shawn Powell
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |