Tonawanda News


September 21, 2013

Bills hope for good road start at Jets

Tonawanda News — ORCHARD PARK — After picking up their first win of the season, the next test for the new-look Buffalo Bills is to turn around their fortunes away from home.

They’ll get that chance this Sunday when they travel to New York to face the Jets in an early AFC East clash.

“It’s a test,” said rookie quarterback EJ Manuel, “and we’ll see how we do.”

Manuel and the Bills have a tall order as they try to reverse Buffalo’s recent road history. The Bills were 2-6 away from home last season — you can tack on another loss if you don’t count their 50-17 defeat against Seattle in Toronto as a true “home” game — 1-7 in 2011 and 2-6 the season before that.

You have to go back to 1999 to find the team’s last winning road record of 5-3, which was also the last season they made the playoffs. Buffalo’s current 13-year postseason drought is the longest in the league and it hasn’t gone .500 on the road since 2004 — the Bills’ last winning season.

All eyes will be on Manuel as he makes his first career road start. The rookie was terrific in leading the Bills to a last-second victory over the Carolina Panthers in Week 2, showing plenty of command and poise throughout the game’s final moments. The Bills hope that those characteristics will help him deal with a difficult road environment at MetLife Stadium.

Manuel’s college experience at Florida State should be an asset, Bills coach Doug Marrone said.

“I used to joke when I first came into this league about away games and those type of environments, if you play at a place like Florida State and you’ve played in the ACC I think they’re a lot more hostile than what we face (in the NFL),” Marrone said. “So I think it’s just a matter of execution, that’s what it comes down to and I don’t perceive any problems.”

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