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Rex Ryan stands by EJ Manuel, hopeful Tyrod Taylor will return

LONDON --- Rex Ryan didn't consider benching EJ Manuel when the Buffalo Bills quarterback was committing turnovers at a record rate, citing the fact that Manuel had a great week of practice.

Manuel helped the Bills turn a 27-3 deficit into a 31-27 lead before losing, 34-31.

And afterward, Ryan assured he still has confidence in Manuel as the backup quarterback.

"Yeah, 100 percent," Ryan said. "Absolutely. Absolutely I am 100 percent comfortable with him as the back-up, yep."

After Tyrod Taylor missed the last two weeks with his sprained MCL, Ryan is hopeful he'll be ready out of the bye week.

"I'm confident that he'll be back," Ryan said. "And we'll see where he's at when we come back off the bye."

With 9 minutes and 55 seconds left in the second quarter, after three straight turnovers, Manuel had a 7.6 passer rating.

He fumbled the ball on one touchdown, threw a pick-six to Telvin Smith and then another interception to Paul Posluszny. The three plays led to 21 Jacksonville points and ultimately decided the game.

Earlier in the week, general manager Doug Whaley stood behind his decision to trade Matt Cassel to the Dallas Cowboys and Ryan, after Manuel nearly brought Buffalo back on Sunday, threw his support behind the third-year quarterback.

Manuel finished 24 of 42 for 298 yards with two touchdowns, the two picks and 38 rushing yards on eight carries.

His 58-yard strike to Marcus Easley cut Jacksonville's lead to three points with 6:33 to go, and then Corey Graham had an interception returned for a score to give Buffalo the lead before the Jaguars answered back.

"We all stand right by him and, you know what, it wasn't the best time for him," Ryan said. "We just kept encouraging him and believing in him and believing in the guys. We knew we could come back and we did. It's just, man, I really thought that game was going to be ours."

Ryan said he knew Manuel was down when everything was going wrong in the first half.

"But, hell, he's ready to fight."

He believed Manuel earned a chance to rebound and that he did.

Asked about Manuel's inaccuracy --- the one-hoppers, the overthrows --- Ryan doubled down on his support of Manuel. The quarterback missed tight end Chris Gragg for a would-be touchdown in the first quarter on a corner route and then again in the second half when Gragg got a step on a defender deep middle. Wideout Robert Woods was reaching low for passes much of the day.

"I don't know if it's fair to place that all on him," Ryan said. "One guy gets a free run at the quarterback, the linebacker made a couple good plays. I don't think you can just place it on him. Obviously, that's the first guy you're going to go to because it's his turnover but it's on all of us."

Is Manuel any different accuracy-wise than he was when he played him as the Jets head coach? "I would disagree. When his fundamentals are tight, I think EJ's accurate. He threw a couple great deep balls."

It certainly was a night-and-day game from Manuel in London.

The Bills' support in him isn't wavering publicly.

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