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QB Manuel will start for Bills vs. Steelers

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Former first-round pick EJ Manuel will start for the Buffalo Bills on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Manuel, the team’s top pick in 2013, will be the third starting quarterback the team has used this preseason. Matt Cassel started the opener and Tyrod Taylor started last week against the Cleveland Browns.

Manuel started the second half vs. the Browns and was running for his life behind a second-string line that couldn’t keep the Browns out of the backfield. But he found his groove late in the game and directed a game-winning 12-play, 86-yard drive in the final six minutes. He hit wide receiver Andre Davis in the end zone on a fourth-and-goal from the 14-yard line, then found running back Bronson Hill for the winning two-point conversion.

“It was extremely important,” Manuel said after Buffalo’s 11-10 win. “At the end of the day, I wanted to win. I had a feeling I was going to play the second half. It was 3-3, so I figure it’s a 0-0 game. We came out and we competed. We had some three-and-outs, but we battled back and had a great drive.”

Coach Rex Ryan, who shuffled through quarterbacks in the last couple of years with the New York Jets, has said he won’t decide on a starter until just before the Bills open the season against the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 13.

“Remember, I’m not going to make that decision until we play Indy,” Ryan said last week. “Competitive reasons, whatever. Go for it. We don’t need to tell them. Until the league makes us tell them, we can just go right up in there and say, ‘We’re not gonna say anything.’ We may know. But why would we say any difference? The quarterbacks that we’re talking about, they’re all three different. So plan for all three of them. And I think that’s smart on our part.”


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