While fans watched fill-in Buffalo quarterback EJ Manuel bury the team with three first-half turnovers that left the team in a 27-3 hole, the Bills found themselves wrestling with a second opponent: faulty headsets that stymied communication between Manuel and play-caller Greg Roman.
Asked if the in-game technical failures were an issue, coach Rex Ryan told reporters: “Yeah, that’s an understatement.”
“I don’t get it. I don’t understand it,” Ryan said. “But this one was absolutely miserable. I mean, it’s unacceptable is what it is.”
Ryan said the issues didn’t last all four quarters, “but it was a majority of the game,” adding: “It was unbelievable. Had everything — static — you couldn’t hear anything. Just, you know, a frustrating time obviously in those circumstances. That’s why you saw EJ having to come and run over to get the call with Greg trying to yell it into him quite a few times.”
Manuel didn’t go into as much detail about the sound problems, but he cited a “dead spot out on the field” during that ugly second quarter, saying: “I wasn’t hearing anything.”
It doesn’t excuse his outrageous collapse before halftime, but Manuel isn’t a passer who can fly off script. He needs constant coaching, which isn’t easy when he can’t be reached.