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EJ Manuel, Thad Lewis appear ready for Pittsburgh

By Tim Graham

Looks like Jeff Tuel will go from starter one week to inactive the next.

Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone announced today that recovering quarterbacks EJ Manuel and Thad Lewis made it through practice fine and are on track to dress for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. A final determination has yet to be made, but Tuel seems the odd man out.

"EJ wasn't sore or anything," Marrone said of Manuel's response to Wednesday's practice. "That was the one thing we were waiting for. Barring any setbacks the next couple days, both he and Thad are ready."

Unless Manuel's knee experiences a problem between now and kickoff, the Bills will start their third quarterback in three weeks.

Marrone added that as long as both are healthy, the Bills will continue their habit of keeping only two quarterbacks active for the game.

The concern with dressing a third quarterback is wasting an active roster spot on a player with a better likelihood of contributing. Teams like to have as many linemen or special-teamers on hand as possible.

"If someone's not 100 percent healthy, you might go in with three" quarterbacks, Marrone said. "But a lot of times you've got to be careful because a lot of times the position it affects the most are special teams."

Rookie receiver Marquise Goodwin was limited at today's practice, while colleague Robert Woods was absent.

Marrone said Goodwin "will be ready to go from what I've seen today. Woods will make the trip to Pittsburgh and probably be a game-time decision.

Marrone also announced newly signed fullback Evan Rodriguez will play Sunday, at least on special teams.

Marquise Goodwin practices; Robert Woods still missing

By Tim Graham

One rookie receiver was on the field, the other was not.

Robert Woods was nowhere to be found during the portion of today's Buffalo Bills practice that was open to reporters. He injured his ankle in Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

As expected, Marquise Goodwin was at practice. Bills coach Doug Marrone on Wednesday said Goodwin would be a limited participant today because of a hamstring issue.

Goodwin's status for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers is up in the air, while it's less likely Woods will play.

Bills getting healthy; C.J. Spiller off injury report first time in 7 weeks

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills' injury report is notable for names that don't appear on it.

Only three players didn't practice today, and all of them could play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers:

  • Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (hamstring)
  • Wide receiver Robert Woods (ankle)
  • Defensive tackle Kyle Williams (Achilles)

Everybody else was a full participant. Nobody was listed as limited.

That means quarterback EJ Manuel, running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, receiver Stevie Johnson and defensive end Mario Williams are healthy.

Manuel has missed the past four games with a knee injury. Spiller (ankle), Jackson (knee), Johnson (hip) and Mario Williams (hip) all were listed on last week's injury report.

Today was the first time Spiller hadn't been on the injury report since before the Week Four game against the Baltimore Ravens.

"That's exciting," Marrone said. "The more we can get his hands on the ball, there's an opportunity for him to make a big play. That's something we're always striving to do."

Kyle Williams regularly sits out Wednesday's practice to cool his heels.

Goodwin and Woods are recovering from injuries suffered in Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Their availability is less certain.

Marrone said "I don't feel as good about Robert Woods being able to play," but said Goodwin is expected to practice some Thursday.

Woods is a versatile receiver who can play inside and outside. If Woods doesn't dress, then Chris Hogan would pick up some inside duties, and Marcus Easley could help on the outside.

Injury updates on Thad Lewis, C.J. Spiller, rookie receivers

By Jay Skurski

EJ Manuel's potential return dominated the majority of coach Doug Marrone's press conference today, but the Buffalo Bills' coach also provided injury updates on several key offensive players.

The rundown:

• Backup quarterback Thad Lewis went through a throwing session and is expected to return to practice Wednesday after missing Sunday's 23-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs because of bruised ribs.

"He's getting better each day," Marrone said.

• Running back C.J. Spiller made it through Sunday's game without worsening his high-ankle sprain.

"I talked to C.J. afterward and he said he felt good," the coach said. "The one concern was when someone landed on it, how would he feel? He said one of those big defensive tackles landed on it. I told him, 'Well heck, if a defensive tackle, one of their defensive tackles, lands on it and you're ok, you should be fine.' "

• Rookie receivers Marquise Goodwin (hamstring) and Robert Woods (ankle), both of whom left Sunday's game, will be evaluated Wednesday when the team returns to practice.

On Goodwin, Marrone said: "When you have that, we've just got to get him out on the field and see how he is, so I don't really know right now. I'll know a lot when we get on the field and he can go ahead and test it."

As for Woods, the situation was much the same.

"We'll rest him through the next two days, today and tomorrow, and then see him on the field," Marrone said.

Game ball: Chiefs 23, Bills 13

Doug Marrone as confused as the rest of us on what's a catch

By Jay Skurski

Perhaps it's not a surprise in a league where math like "one knee equals two feet" is used, but the definition of what is and what isn't a catch in the NFL stumps just about everyone.

Including Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone.

"I struggle sometimes," Marrone said today, following his team's 23-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Ralph Wilson Stadium. "I'd love for someone to tell me what the definition of a catch is."

Marrone was left scratching his head after Marquise Goodwin appeared to haul in a 40-yard bomb from Jeff Tuel midway through the fourth quarter. Goodwin went to the ground at the Buffalo 46-yard line with Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers on top of him.

"The quarterback made a great throw. We just battled all the way to the ground for the ball and I won on that play," Flowers said.

Marrone thought otherwise, believing the Chiefs' player knocked the ball away from Goodwin after the receiver had caught the pass and been tackled.

"I thought it was a catch all the way," said Marrone, who fell to 0 for 4 on the season on challenges. "He bounced once and he had it. Second time he bounced, he didn't. I was told that the first time he bounced that he lost the ball."

Goodwin put it upon himself to leave no doubt.

"I thought I made the catch, but that's not my job to rule it a complete pass or incomplete pass. My job is to go out there and make plays and leave no doubt," Goodwin said. "So next time I just need to secure it and come up with the ball and hand it to the ref."

Points after: Chiefs 23, Bills 13

913071 McCoy Sports Bill#22

By Tim Graham

Quick highlights from the Buffalo Bills' loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Ralph Wilson Stadium ...

What it means: The Bills used their third starting quarterback of the season, but they weren't overmatched by the undefeated Chiefs. Even so, the Bills couldn't prevail over two giveaways the Chiefs returned for touchdowns in the second half. The Bills outgained the Chiefs, 470-201, but were minus-3 in turnovers. The Bills are 3-6, last place in the AFC East.

Player of the game: Even in defeat C.J. Spiller was the best player on the field. A week apparently off did wonders for his sprained ankle. He ran 12 times for 116 yards and caught two passes for 39 yards.

Tuel time: Undrafted rookie quarterback Jeff Tuel made his first NFL start because Thad Lewis' injured ribs were too sore. Tuel was 18 of 39 for 229 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.

Play of the game: With the Bills about to grab the game by its throat at the Chiefs' 1-yard line, Tuel threw the ball directly to cornerback Sean Smith at the goal line. Smith breezed up the left sideline for a 100-yard touchdown to tie the game early in the third quarter.

Preliminary injury report: Buffalo's rookie receivers had strong games before leaving with injuries. Robert Woods stayed on the ground late in the third quarter with a leg injury. He went straight to the locker room and didn't return. When Woods left the game he was Buffalo's top receiver with four catches for 44 yards. ... Marquise Goodwin went to the locker room late in the fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury. He finished with two catches for 64 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown.

Coming up: The Bills get back on the road next Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

First-quarter analysis: Marquise Goodwin hits 'turbo boost'

By Jay Skurski

There's a reason they call Marquise Goodwin "Flash."

The Buffalo Bills' rookie receiver showed why during the first quarter today against the Kansas City Chiefs. Goodwin caught a perfectly thrown ball from rookie undrafted free agent Jeff Tuel, who's making his first career start, for a 59-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Goodwin beat press coverage on the play, then simply caught up to the ball that looked like it might have been overthrown when Tuel let it go. It's Goodwin's second touchdown of 40 or more yards this season.

Raise your hand if you saw this coming: Tuel has started the game 5 of 7 for 112 yards and a touchdown. One of the incomplete passes was a drop by tight end Scott Chandler. 

Continue reading "First-quarter analysis: Marquise Goodwin hits 'turbo boost'" »

Mario Williams on injury report; C.J. Spiller's return probable

By Tim Graham

Amid today's quarterback talk, Buffalo Bills pass-rusher Mario Williams slipped onto the injury report.

Williams is considered probable for Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs with a hip injury.

Bills coach Doug Marrone also announced today running back C.J. Spiller is probable after being held out of last week's loss to the New Orleans Saints with an ankle injury.


  • Quarterback EJ Manuel (knee)


  • Quarterback Thad Lewis (ribs)


  • Wide receiver Chris Hogan (back)


  • Running back Fred Jackson (knee)
  • Running back C.J. Spiller (ankle)
  • Wide receiver Stevie Johnson (hip)
  • Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (elbow)
  • Right guard Kraig Urbik (knee)
  • Defensive end Mario Williams (hip)
  • Defensive tackle Kyle Williams (Achilles)
  • Linebacker Manny Lawson (hamstring)

C.J. Spiller likely to play Sunday; QB starter still uncertain

By Jay Skurski

Barring a setback in the next couple days, running back C.J. Spiller will return to the Buffalo Bills' lineup Sunday against Kansas City.

"I feel good about C.J. playing," coach Doug Marrone said. "In talking with him, without any setbacks, we feel he'll be ready to go."

Marrone said the decision to rest Spiller last week accomplished what the team hoped it would in healing the high-ankle sprain he's dealing with.

As for the quarterbacks, Thad Lewis missed a second straight practice and remains "50-50" to play Sunday.

Continue reading "C.J. Spiller likely to play Sunday; QB starter still uncertain" »

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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 |