Making sense of the Bills' QB battle
The first week of the preseason featured all four Buffalo Bills quarterbacks, and each earned a positive overall grade. Still, it looked like it was becoming more of a two-man competition between Tyrod Taylor and Matt Cassel.
However, not only was Taylor was given the starting nod over Cassel Thursday night against the Browns, but Cassel did not even see the field, as EJ Manuel came in for the entire second half.
Taylor helped sustain a good opening drive against Cleveland with three good passes beyond the markers to pick up first downs — two of which came on third down. He picked up another first down with his feet before the drive ultimately stalled and ended with a missed field goal. Taylor also demonstrated his running ability once again. For the second straight game he had a run of at least 20 yards, and finished with over 40 rushing yards.
Meanwhile, Manuel continues to make his case to be the starter. His +1.7 overall grade last week versus the Panthers edged out the other three Buffalo quarterbacks for the highest grade. On Thursday night, Manuel dealt with a lot of pressure from the Cleveland defense, but he was still able to make a few good throws, including a fourth-down touchdown pass to cap-off a game-winning drive.
With two more games remaining in the preseason, we still need to see more from both players. Taylor looks to be the front-runner at this point in time. But Manuel may have shown enough through two weeks to supplant Cassel as second place in the race.