EJ Manuel takes hold of Buffalo Bills’ starting QB job

Credit: Gregg Rosenthal, Around the League Editor

Kevin Kolb needed a home run during his Friday night start in order to get back into the Buffalo Bills‘ starting quarterback mix. He popped out.

Kolb was booed often by the Buffalo home crowd during a mixed starting performance against the Minnesota Vikings.

“I’ve been booed plenty of times in my career. I’d like to boo myself when I don’t throw a good ball,” Kolb told reporters after the game. “No, I definitely don’t hear them whenever I’m out there. You’re just upset you didn’t complete the ball and continue the drive.”

Rookie EJ Manuel, on the other hand, was even more effective than his solid start one week ago.

Manuel completed 10 of 12 passes for 92 yards and one touchdown during the 20-16 win over the Vikings, moving the Bills‘ offense at a quick tempo. For the second consecutive week, Manuel got rid of the ball quickly on short throws. Kolb averaged just over 5 yards per throw, and he threw an interception on a tipped pass.

Kolb, who sat out the preseason opener, didn’t look comfortable in the pocket, often drifting back before pressure even got to him. He too often was slow to make his reads, although he finished on a positive note by moving the Bills on two field-goal drives once the Vikings‘ starters came out of the game.

Manuel came in after halftime and immediately led Buffalo on an 80-yard touchdown drive. The first-round draft pick hasn’t been perfect, but he has looked like an NFL quarterback. In two games, he’s 26-of-33 passing (78.8 percent) for 199 yards and two touchdowns. And the Bills‘ offense looks different with him at the helm.

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