In his first season he won four games. FOUR. We took him in the first round and that’s all he could do? He was the Buffalo Bills quarterback who failed to deliver.
He had a completion percentage under 60 percent. Simply put, it wasn’t good enough. You won’t win many games in this league with a completion percentage like that.
On average, Buffalo’s quarterback completed about 18 passes per game. He should have done better in year one as he had a veteran wide receiver (in what turned out to be his final season in Buffalo) as well as a promising young receiver at his disposal.
In the division, he won one game. How can anyone accept that from their “franchise quarterback?” It was another year where the Buffalo Bills finished behind the likes of the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.
Yes, he threw for more touchdowns than interceptions and he had his moments where he looked good but how can he be trusted to lead our franchise? Let’s not forget that he lost to a team like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs were one of the worst teams in the league so what does that say about the Bills?
What if the Bills just pulled the plug on the quarterback and cut their losses?
It would have been one of the biggest mistakes in the history of the franchise.
This article on the Buffalo Bills quarterback who failed to deliver in year one isn’t about EJ Manuel, it’s about Jim Kelly.
You know, the best quarterback in the history of the team. The man who led the Bills to a 101-69 record, multiple playoff appearances and four consecutive Super Bowls.The quarterback who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002. The one who is so beloved in Buffalo as shown at the Hall of Fame where he received a double standing ovation.
You get the point.
Everything listed above about Kelly’s rookie season in the NFL is true.
He led the Bills to four victories in 1986. His completion percentage was under sixty percent (it took Kelly five seasons to finally get over that threshold, by the way).
Kelly completed 18 passes per game with the likes of Jerry Butler (the veteran in his final season with the Bills) and a young receiver named Andre Reed on the roster.
In the AFC East, Kelly went 1-7 in his rookie season. He split the season series with the Colts, a team worse than the Bills, and went 0-6 against the likes of the Patriots, Jets and Dolphins.
Kelly’s Bills also lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1986. Tampa Bay finished 2-14 that year and were one of the worst franchises in the NFL.
It’s a good thing that Twitter didn’t exist in 1986. All we would have heard during and following the season is that Kelly wasn’t good enough.
During Manuel’s rookie season, plenty of critics came out to say that he isn’t the guy. They’d be all over Twitter after Manuel played poorly.
They showed their faces again after the Hall of Fame game with the Giants. Who cares that it was the first preseason game of the season and Manuel only played a few series. Some people believe that Manuel’s destiny has been written, but that’s not the case.
I can’t sit here and say that Manuel will have a career like Jim Kelly, but I also cannot say that he won’t.
Much like Kelly, Manuel won four games in his first season. He won the same amount of games with six fewer appearances.
Manuel’s completion percentage was also under 60 percent. Manuel’s 58.8% was pretty comparable to Kelly’s 59.4%.
Manuel completed 180 passes in 10 games. Exactly 18 completions per game on average. Kelly completed 285 passes over 16 games, about 17.8 completions per game. Manuel edged out Kelly in this category with a veteran in his last season on the team, Stevie Johnson, and a promising rookie in Robert Woods.
Manuel also led the Bills to win within the division in his rookie season. He defeated the New York Jets in his second matchup with the team. He also lost to the Jets and the Patriots once. Manuel finished the year 1-2 in the AFC East, which is a lot better than Kelly’s 1-7 record against the AFC East in 1986. And yes, just like Kelly, Manuel lost to the Buccaneers in his rookie season. Tampa Bay was one of the worst teams in the league in 1986 and 2013.
Don’t confuse the premise of this article. I’m not saying Manuel will have a career like Kelly’s, few quarterbacks have been so lucky. Simply put, stop with the overreactions. Manuel’s story as quarterback of the Buffalo Bills is just beginning.