EJ Manuel, Bills' offense flustered by Buccaneers' D


Optimism usually buoys fans through the preseason, but Bills devotees were already in midseason frustration form, loudly serenading EJ Manuel and the offense with boos into halftime of a 27-14 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Manuel gave nothing for Buffalo to be thrilled about. He missed passes, failed on reads and looked lost when his offensive line faltered.

Fourteen of the Bucs' 17 first-half points came off Buffalo turnovers. One of those turnovers was a sack and fumble by Manuel that Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald rumbled in for a touchdown.

The starting quarterback's stat line ended 19-of-28 passing for 198 yards a touchdown, interception and the fumble. However, Manuel made most of his hay against the Bucs' second-team defense, when he went 10 of 10 for 131 yards and the score.

Sadly for Bills fans, teams won't be playing backups when the games count.

Some other notes from Saturday's game:

2. Surprise! Dennis Dixon took the Bills No. 2 quarterback snaps, ahead of Jeff Tuel and Thad Lewis. Dixon did nothing to prove he's a better option. Tuel came in after and looked equally awful.

3. Mike Williams gave some semblance of revenge against his former Bucs teammates, catching a touchdown and making a nice toe-tap sideline catch.

4. Tampa's O-line remains a huge problem. Josh McCown was under siege early, and the line got no push in the run game. When McCown gets time he will be effective. On a drive late in the first half, the signal-caller led a beautiful 11-play, 82-yard drive ending with a 26-yard touchdown dime to Mike Evans.

5. Doug Martin will be the Bucs' workhorse. Martin took 12 of the 15 first-half carries. Bobby Rainey didn't show much in his opportunities.

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