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Wayne Post
Sports writer Dan Goldman gives his thoughts on local and national sports.
Putting EJ Manuel's drive in context
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By Dan Goldman
Dan Goldman covers high school sports and the Buffalo Bills for Messenger Post Media. He grew up in Pittsford as a fan of all sports. He learned how to cover sports through internships with The Brockton Enterprise and The Patriot Ledger in ...
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Dan Goldman covers high school sports and the Buffalo Bills for Messenger Post Media. He grew up in Pittsford as a fan of all sports. He learned how to cover sports through internships with The Brockton Enterprise and The Patriot Ledger in Massachusetts. After a two-year stint in Monroe County news, Dan has returned to the world of sports. He enjoys playing ultimate frisbee in his free time.
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By Dan Goldman
Sept. 19, 2013 12:01 a.m.

There has been a lot of optimism surrounding EJ Manuel since he led the Buffalo Bills to a game-winning touchdown drive against Carolina on Sunday. It certainly was an impressive drive, going 80 yards on nine plays in just 1:36 without any timeouts.

However, other Buffalo quarterbacks have engineered game-winning drives in recent years. Here are all of the ones I could dig up since 2006.

- In 2011, Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Bills on an 80-yard touchdown drive, hitting David Nelson with 14 seconds left to beat Oakland. Later in the season, the quarterback drove Buffalo 71 yards to set up Rian Lindell's game-winning field goal as time expired against New England. Before Sunday, that was the last time the Bills won a game after trailing in the fourth quarter.

- In 2008, Trent Edwards led the Bills on a late drive to set up Lindell's 38-yard field goal to defeat the Raiders.

- In 2007, Edwards led the Bills to a fourth-quarter comeback against the Redskins. Buffalo trailed 16-8 and won 17-16 on a Lindell field goal with four seconds remaining.

- In 2006, J.P. Losman threw a touchdown pass to Peerless Price with nine seconds left to lift Buffalo to a win over Houston. Later that year, Losman led a drive to set up Lindell's game-winning field goal as time expired against Jacksonville.

Manuel is just the fifth NFL quarterback to engineer a fourth-quarter comeback in either the first or second game of his rookie season. He joined Archie Manning, Jim Druckenmiller, Ryan Leaf and Geno Smith (not exactly an elite group of quarterbacks).

One reason to be excited is Losman didn't show that flash of talent until his third year in the league. Edwards' drive came in his fifth NFL start. Fitzpatrick's drive came in his seventh year in the league.

It's only been two games, but I think Manuel looks more comfortable in the pocket and has shown better accuracy than Losman ever did. He certainly looks better than Edwards did after his concussion. I think Fitzpatrick understood the game better than Manuel, but the rookie has the physical talent the Harvard grad lacked. Manuel should be able to learn the mental side of the game as he gets more starts.

Only time will tell if Manuel has what it takes to be Buffalo's franchise quarterback.

Follow me on Twitter at MPN_DanGoldman and let me know what you think of Manuel.

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