LONDON -- Here are some quick thoughts on the Buffalo Bills' 34-31 loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday at Wembley Stadium:
* How strange a game was this? And I'm not simply talking about the fact it kicked off during breakfast. For the entire first half, the Twitter narrative was EJ Manuel should not be allowed to return to Buffalo ... and General Manager Doug Whaley, the man who championed him becoming the Bills' No. 2 quarterback, should stay behind with him. Perhaps there are a lot of people who still feel that way, but Manuel did do some good things in leading a rally that just fell short.
* The defense can't be let off the hook for this one. Once again, Rex Ryan failed to consistently apply heat on the opposing quarterback. Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles didn't have a great day by any means, although most of his problems were of his own doing. He was repeatedly off the mark and also got little help from his running game. The Bills' defense was stout at times and at other times, such as with a little more than two minutes left, it allowed the Jaguars to march to Bortles' winning touchdown throw to Allen Robinson. This will be every bit as hard to live down as Manuel's poor showing.
* Did Manuel damage his career beyond repair with that embarrassing first half? It's going to leave some scars. This is a results-oriented business and the ultimate result after all of that ugliness and valiant comeback effort was a loss. The No. 2 quarterback did not get the job done, nor did the other reserves.
* Before I get too far into this, I need to mention the Jaguars are a BAD team. Really bad. They were 1-5 entering the game on merit. They had no business storming out to that big early lead. The Bills were gift-wrapping them the game, but they were simply too young and immature to take it. Blake Bortles was not ready to step up to the challenge of taking the game by the throat, and, in fact, did plenty to give it away. The Jaguars' coaches also did a horrific job of calling plays.
* Whaley put his GM career on the line for Manuel, and as poorly as Manuel played through the first half, he paid him back by shaking off a nighmarish performance and staying focused enough to make the game interesting. That won't stop the conversation that Whaley made a mistake by trading the much more experienced Matt Cassel to Dallas to assure Manuel the backup spot.
* Let's give a little credit to offensive coordinator Greg Roman for making the necessary adjustments that helped Manuel bounce back. He began having Manuel work the soft perimeter of the Jaguars' defense with quick throws to chain-movers such as Chris Hogan to help the QB regain confidence. Manuel wasn't good enough to take the comeback the distance, but the strategy showed Roman's ability to make something out of virtually nothing.