Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel was hobbled a bit after suffering a minor knee injury against Jacksonville last week. He practiced Wednesday on a limited basis.
And after that practice, head coach Doug Marrone decided Manuel wasn't well enough to play against the Dolphins.
So Marrone announced this afternoon that Thad Lewis, the one-time practice squad quarterback, will start at quarterback for the Bills against the Dolphins Sunday. Lewis started the teams' first meeting Oct. 20.
The Bills beat the Dolphins 23-21 in that game.
Lewis is excited, obviously. "We want to play for the city of Buffalo," he said today. "This should be a great game."
The Bills did not shy away from throwing the ball the first meeting against the Dolphins. Lewis threw 32 times and completed 21 for 202 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT. His quarterback rating that day was 70.1, which is unimpressive.
Lewis started three games for the Bills while Manuel was out. He completed 60.2 percent of his passes in that span, threw 3 TDs and 2 INTs.
Obviously, the fact Lewis beat the Dolphins once will cause some Dolphins fans to think this is bad news. This is most definitely not bad news for Miami.
Lewis is a backup and a project for a reason. Manuel, a rookie, was the starter for a reason -- namely he's simply more talented.
The Dolphins are living right, friends.
I will say this: The Dolphins, frankly, respected Lewis too much in that first game. You'll recall that the team had a 21-20 lead and the ball at their own 48 yard line with 3:39 to play. Run the ball three times and use Brandon "flips the" Fields to punt Buffalo deep and the Dolphins are forcing Lewis to drive 80 yards for a TD or maybe 45-yard for a field goal with less than 2 minutes to play.
But Miami coaches trusted throwing the ball more than they trusted their defense.
Ryan Tannehill on second-and-eight stepped back to pass and was crushed by Mario Williams, who caused a fumble. The Bills recovered at the Miami 34 yard line. Dan Carpenter eventually connected on a 31-yard field goal to give Buffalo the lead.
Dolphins coaches afterward said they threw because Lewis had success the week before against Cincinnati, throwing an improbable deep pass for a TD. The Dolphins feared he would do that against them.
They thought Mario Williams vs. Tyson Clabo was a better matchup than the Miami D vs. Thad Lewis with less than 2 minutes to play.
I hope if that choice pops up again this game, the Dolphins will have learned a lesson. Trust the D. Force the young QB to beat you. Don't let Mario Williams beat you.