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By Joe Buscaglia
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Watkins suffers 2nd rib injury in Bills preseason finale

The Buffalo Bills entered their final preseason game with the idea of playing their starters against the Detroit Lions. In only their second offensive possession of the game, the Bills once again saw their prized possession of the offseason have to leave the game due to an injury.

Fourth-overall selection and rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins could not continue for the second time in the 2014 preseason, suffering an injury to his ribs just as he did August 17 in Pittsburgh. Led too far by quarterback EJ Manuel on a slant route, Watkins took a forearm to the ribs from Lions linebacker Ashlee Palmer after the defender read the quarterback’s eyes.

Watkins immediately clutched his midsection, but seemed determined to stay on the field for another play. A delay allowed a teammate to come check on him, and then Watkins left the field slowly, simultaneously ending his night for the Bills. The medical staff of the team examined Watkins on the sidelines before a group of four doctors and trainers escorted the wideout to locker room.

The team initially declared his return as questionable but then downgraded him to out shortly thereafter. For the time being, Watkins’ injury status is unknown, although Manuel said, “he’ll be fine” in response to the wideout’s current condition. The injury is to the same area as the one he suffered in Pittsburgh.

For the second straight week the Bills and their first-team offense could not get anything going in an exhibition contest, leading them to an unceremonious 23-0 defeat to the Lions.  In three total drives, Manuel finished the game 3-of-7 for 56 yards and took two sacks. The Bills’ top unit managed just 55 total yards total.

“You just have to put it behind you and not lose your confidence,” Bills center Eric Wood said. “I have a lot of confidence in this offense, we’ve put in a ton of work and I’m not going to get down because of a couple of preseason games.”

Despite the lack of points and lack of statistics, Manuel was satisfied with his performance.

“I got a couple drops on third downs, but as far as going to the right place with the ball, I thought I did a pretty good job,” he said. “Coming off the field talking to Coach Hackett and Coach Downing, they told me I did a good job, so I was happy with that.”

Besides the desire for more snaps for the starters ahead of the regular season, Thursday also served as an audition for one recently acquired player. Quarterback Jordan Palmer, whom was just signed to the Bills after being released by Chicago, entered the game in the second quarter to attempt to win the backup job.

With only three days on the job, Palmer’s night couldn’t have gone much worse. In three quarters of play, the quarterback completed just 9-of-22 passes for 73 yards. He compounded the poor evening with three interceptions.

"There were different reasons as to why things didn't go right tonight but I own all of them," Palmer said. "I'm the quarterback, I'm the one back there pulling the trigger so I've got to make better decisions and move the team and score and I'm frustrated I couldn't do that tonight."

Palmer had merely one day of practice, one walkthrough and the preseason game to make an impression. He was brought in to challenge second-year quarterback Jeff Tuel for the backup position behind EJ Manuel. Through the entire evening, the Buffalo only managed to get in Detroit territory four times.

The Bills came into the game with ten players unavailable due to injury, which made cornerback Stephon Gilmore (groin), guard Chris Williams (back), cornerback Corey Graham (ankle), tight end Scott Chandler (knee), linebacker Randell Johnson (ankle), tight end Tony Moeaki (hamstring), cornerback Mario Butler (ankle), tight end Lee Smith (toe), safety Jonathan Meeks (neck) and cornerback Bobby Felder (groin) inactive for the contest.

Buffalo survived a scare in the first half with running back Bryce Brown. The runner caught a pass from Palmer and was hit by a pair of Detroit defenders and then immediately clutched his knee in pain. He was helped off the field but quickly regained full strength in his knee and returned before the half was over.

The Bills end their preseason with only one win and four losses, and like the rest of the NFL, will now shift into regular season mode at the start of next week. Before that the Bills will need to pare their roster down to the maximum of 53 players, and will need to release. Final cuts are due from each team on Saturday, August 30 at 4 pm.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of The Associated Press

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Locations : BuffaloChicagoDetroitPittsburgh
People : Ashlee PalmerBobby FelderBryce BrownChris WilliamsCorey GrahamDowningEric WoodHackettJeff TuelJonathan MeeksJordan PalmerLee SmithMario ButlerRandell JohnsonSammy WatkinsScott ChandlerStephon GilmoreTony Moeaki

08/28/2014 11:00PM
Watkins suffers 2nd rib injury in Bills preseason finale
Please enter your comments below.
08/28/2014 11:06PM
EJ and Hackett Both Stink
The Bills' O-Coordinator is in way over his head in the NFL and the opposing teams' Defense will be salivating each and every week when faced with this offense. EJ compounds matters, but it isn't his fault if none of the coaches have the courage to criticize him coming off the field when he's getting his receivers nearly killed out there. Another long season ahead, I wish watching the Defense was more entertaining.
08/28/2014 11:08PM
own up
Manuel: "I got a couple drops on 3rd down". Palmer: "There were different reasons things didnt go right tonight but I own all of them."
08/28/2014 11:12PM
Good News
At least Bills fans don't have to wait until November to know the season is a wash.
08/28/2014 11:19PM
Long Season
Looks like a long season ahead. Even if EJ thinks he did pretty good there in trouble. Now defenses will game plan for EJ Manuel and the Bills offense.
08/28/2014 11:23PM
Hat off to Palmer
At least the guy owns up to his performance. If you listened to EJ talk about his performances and didn't actually watch him play you might think he was playing like a first round draft pick.
08/28/2014 11:26PM
Eric Woods says "they put in a ton of work"...if that's a ton of work, we're in for a long season..Again!!
08/29/2014 12:13AM
Come on
Seriously EJ own up to your mistakes and take responsibility for hanging your man out to dry! He said "he'll be fine" last time and it took almost two weeks to recover. We need a new QB, and at the very least a new offensive coordinator. This season is going to get another joke!!!!!!!!
08/29/2014 12:58AM
Trying hard to hold judgement...
I am really hoping that our offense looks like it does mostly because of the very limited amount if p,as put in by the OC, and once the regular season starts and they have the whole playbook that the offense springs to life. I don't have too much confidence in that happening at the moment, but lets at least give them a shot here before we write them off. I know it's hard not to be negative after all these years of frustration. But it's not these current players or coaches faults that we haven't seen the playoffs in 14 years... Buffalo has a hard enough time getting players to come here. I know they say we have some of the best fans in the league and I think we do. I just don't like seeing so many fellow fans talk of almost running players out of town after a few preseason games. Lets wait until after a few regular season games first... LoL (kidding) Also, I am really beginning to wonder if the reason so many QB's have came in here and looked so bad these last 2 preseasons is because of Nathaniel Hackett and his preseason play calling. I know the players seem to love him and say he brings lots of energy to the field, and I know that the offense was really 'dumbed' down last season but Buffalo's Offensive Coordinator might be an even bigger question mark than our QB position at the moment, at least for me anyway.
08/29/2014 1:41AM
EJ led his top reciever
to injury again and he was 3 for 7 and he thought he did a pretty good job. LOL
08/29/2014 3:35AM
now i am worried
I have been mostly optimistic about the quarterback situation but I think I have finally seen the truth please read the following quotes from this article back to back and tell me which quarterback is a real leader, after seeing this I went from optimistic to now I am pretty sure by week 5 EJ will not be the starter, IMO this quote says all I need to know both are below... “I got a couple drops on third downs, but as far as going to the right place with the ball, I thought I did a pretty good job,” he said. “Coming off the field talking to Coach Hackett and Coach Downing, they told me I did a good job, so I was happy with that.”, EJ manual "There were different reasons as to why things didn't go right tonight but I own all of them," Palmer said. "I'm the quarterback, I'm the one back there pulling the trigger so I've got to make better decisions and move the team and score and I'm frustrated I couldn't do that tonight." J. Palmer I am not saying Palmer is the answer ... I am saying that this is going to be a disappointing season at the quarterback position ... pray for Tuel to get divine inspiration ... lol
08/29/2014 5:11AM
Good-bye Whaley and Marrone. The preseason is no reflection of the team but these two are so inept that it shows even at this stage. The new owners will be cleaning house at the end of the season.
08/29/2014 6:18AM
Bills rap week 1
Ba ba ba ba biillllls SUCK !
08/29/2014 7:15AM
NFL Drug Policy Doesnt Work
How does one explain EJ? To toss passes so far off when it’s a catch only practice without a defender is strange. How can he be that bad? Playing catch is a natural thing that anyone can AT ANY AGE do unless one has no athletic ability or has other issues.
08/29/2014 8:01AM
groundhog day
have we seen this before?
08/29/2014 8:06AM
Just Another Convenient Excuse
OK so the OC didn't game plan for any preseason game. Just another excuse thought out by Doug the coach and Nate the Hatchet to give these clowns time to extend their stay here. Do you really think they are stupid? They might not be ready for prime time NFL but they sure can BS to extend their stay here by at least another season and stuff their pockets. Just like playing Watkins in the 5th game which backfired. That was an excuse possibly set up for Whaley to cover his arse for drafting EJ. That's what this entire team is about, covering arses for Russ, Doug, Doug, Nate and EJ. THEY ARE ALL ON THE SAME PAGE
08/29/2014 8:17AM
Wasn't expecting a win but was expecting some improvement in performance and execution from the offense. Got neither.
08/29/2014 8:28AM
Sunk Cost Fallacy
EJ conjures up images of Fitzpatrick, both of whom led/lead their receivers into a bad position for a hard hit. There was no point drafting Watkins if the QB cannot throw the ball accurately. We need a QB to compete with or replace EJ and we need that person now. Yes we spent a high draft pick on EJ, but the pick is spent and it is time to move on. Evaluate him based on his play, not his draft status.
08/29/2014 9:22AM
Trying to be optimistic
Bottom line is it's preseason. For all we know Hackett is holding back on play calling and/or trying different formations and risky plays that he hopefully will not try in the regular season. Jackson and Spiller were very limited all preseason as well. Take the positives away from the preseason: no major injuries in FIVE preseason games (assuming Watkins is okay). Last year at this time EJ was out and we had no idea who he was heading into the regular season. Our defense will keep us in most games. They looked awesome. Even if this is a lost season we gotta keep pulling for W's. At least get out of the bottom 10. We don't want Cleveland getting the first 2 picks overall.
08/29/2014 9:22AM
Train Wreck
This team is a joke! Whaley/Marrone/Hackett/Manuel. These are not NFL quality people. They are delusional. Whaley, Marrone and Hackett for putting all their eggs in EJ's basket and not going out and getting a quality backup QB. EJ Manuel for thinking that he is doing a good job. Who does he think he's kidding? At least when Nix/Gailey and Fitz were here we had a semblance of an offense. Looking at Marrone in his presser it looks like he has given up on this team just like he gave up on last nights game, And he gave up early. He has no answers. The wheels have come off.
08/29/2014 9:49AM
Watkins suffers 2nd rib injury in Bills preseason finale
I can see Sammy in for a few series for real game experience. However, a slant pattern over the middle from a quarterback with very little accuracy, what are you thinking Marrone?
08/29/2014 9:56AM
Wow, If EJ Thought He Played Well.....
Would hate to see what he considers playing poorly!! He is one of the worst QBs in the league, Oh I don't mean of the starters.....I mean the entire league, to include every teams backups!!! he is horrible
08/29/2014 10:03AM
I dont get Marrone. I understand that its not that important to win preseason games, but your team should at least show some progress. Why bring in a QB who has only been with the Bills for 2 days, and hadnt played in an NFL game since 2010, and let him play the last 3 quarters of the game? Shades of Matt Leinart who Marrone quickly dropped last year. Marrone dissed Jeff Tuel by not playing him, just like he did with Thad Lewis the week before. Tuel could have played at least the 4th quarter. Has Marrone given up on Tuel like he did with Lewis? Bills fans had better hope that there is a halfway decent QB among the final teams cuts that the Bills can pick up. Or they're in trouble. Its gonna be a long season. And Buffalo does not have a numbe1 draft pick next year, which is gonna be a top 3 pick.
08/29/2014 11:46AM
It is not even worth writing ,but, Maroon put these offensive & special teams coaches together so...they ALL have to go. Nix is partially responsible for not drafting a QB when he had the chance. Whaley drafted EJ and refused to draft a backup so... he has to go. EJ can"t hit the side of a barn and CONTINUALLY lets everyone know where he is going with the ball, hangs his receivers out to dry and STILL thinks he did a good job!!! Why not when that is what your coaches are telling you. What a mess when our D is a monster! New owner, new coach, new GM, new QB, new LIFE!!!!!!!!!!
08/29/2014 12:31PM
New Owner
Bills fans have to remember a new owner is on the way . I hope he cleans out all the Wilson holdovers that hired Marrone who clearly has no clue. The organization needs a change of attitude right from the top. There is no pride in this team. Acceptance of bad play is unforgivable. The only hope we have is an Owner who cares about the city/ area and one that hates to lose let alone accept it!
08/29/2014 1:26PM
All of these comments......
About EJ and how terrible he is do no even address the headline of the Article.....which should read "By playing recently injured 4th overall pick in final meaningless preseason game, coach proves he is quickest in history to lose his team." That's what is going on here and it is a much bigger story than EJ not looking like Brady or Rodgers. We lost Kolb over a year ago and there has still been no one brought in to help guide this talented kid and teach him the nuances of being a productive NFL QB. I checked THE INTERWEB and Marrone, Whaley, Hackett, and Downing have a combined ZERO starts as NFL QBs, or college qb's. Downing, often credited with Stafford's success was a high school assistant coach before he caught on with the Vikings as a quality control clown. So enough piling on EJ, pile on where it matters, the coaching staff. If that rib injury last night was a knee, or hamstring, or high ankle sprain, we would not be letting Marrone off so easily. Between the off field issues with Dareus, Branch falling apart, Fred being vocal about how much of a joke camp was, Watkins getting hurt, twice, Kiko tearing his knee doing who knows what, playing 52 pick up with the offensive line, STARTING a fullback, and not getting ANYONE with experience to help EJ, how long can he expect to have a job?
08/29/2014 4:34PM
Why is everyone on EJ MAnuel's case?
Where's Mario Williams? nobody is complaining. Where's CJ Spiller? nobody is complaining. Where is EJ ? Everyone is complaining. Is it fair for some guys to have to try and others not? I believe none of the starters , were told to show what they can do in preseason. Show no strengths. Otherwise lets here Mario Williams lack of performance in preseason.
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