Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- For the sixth time in the 2013 regular season, the Buffalo Bills will not have starting quarterback EJ Manuel under center because of an injury to his knee. After a week of deliberation, head coach Doug Marrone announced that Manuel will not play on Sunday, giving backup Thad Lewis the start against the New England Patriots.
"The decision with EJ is very simple. [He] did not progress the way that I wanted it to," Marrone started off. "I give him credit. He's disappointed. He did everything he could when he was out there. At the end of the day, the decision process was injury related meaning that he was not able to do the things at 100-percent that in my opinion, we need to do to win this game.
"So at the end of the day, I made a decision not to put him out there for no other reason, because I thought Thad would give us the best chance to win this game with EJ's injury not progressing."
Officially, Manuel is listed as "doubtful" for the game against the Patriots, but the coach said despite that designation that Lewis would indeed be the starter. The injury is to the LCL in his left knee, but Marrone reiterated that as far as he knows it would not require a surgical procedure in the off-season.
The coach felt fairly comfortable with Manuel moving vertical on the knee, but the lateral movements that the Bills require out of their quarterbacks is what was ultimately the decision to have the former first-round pick sit out once again.
Lewis will be making his fifth start of the season, amassing a 2-2 record throughout the season. Manuel's season ends with a 4-7 record as a starter, averaging 197.2 yards per game while completing 58.8-percent of his passes. The rookie had 11 touchdowns to 9 interceptions.
The Bills have also ruled both safety Aaron WIlliams (ribs) and Stevie Johnson (non-football reasons) out of Sunday's contest in New England. Running back Fred Jackson (ribs), defensive lineman Kyle Williams (Achilles), quarterback Thad Lewis (left shoulder), wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (knee) and wide receiver Marcus Easley (knee) are all probable.
The Bills have placed Aaron Williams on season-ending Injured Reserve, and have called up wide receiver Cordell Roberson from the practice squad.
The Bills play their regular season finale at Gilette Stadium on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 4:25 pm.