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This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's Oct. 14 Bay Area Issue. Subscribe today!
THE EARLY REVIEWS of Bills rookie QB EJ Manuel have been mixed. So why has Buffalo put the fate of the franchise in the hands of this 23-year-old? Let Sport Science count the reasons.
.33: Average release time for a Manuel pass, in seconds. That's the fastest among the six QBs Sport Science tested in its lab this year. By comparison, the NFL average is 0.40.
6: Number of randomly triggered targets Manuel hit from 20 yards in 10 tries. He is the only quarterback Sport Science tested this year who hit more than five targets.
90: Accuracy percentage by Manuel on 2-foot targets from 15 yards away. The average of QBs tested this year: 52 percent. So it's no surprise that through Week 3, Manuel's 0.9 percent INT rate was fifth best in the NFL.
9: Record number of consecutive bull's-eyes Manuel hit in the "touch test," which requires backpedaling QBs to feather a ball over two rushers into a 3-foot target 20 yards away.
84: Wingspan of Manuel, eight inches longer than that of the typical male. As a result, he can throw harder than a QB with shorter arms, assuming their arms rotate at the same angular velocity.
27.3: Circumference of Manuel's thighs, in inches. That's roughly the size of a soccer ball. His powerful lower body helps his rushing game: Through Week 3, he was 10th among NFL QBs with 5.85 ypc.
9 percent: Decrease in Manuel's reaction time while thinking on his feet. Sport Science tests simple reaction times, then retests adding a rapid-fire quiz. His drop-off was the best of any QB tested this year.
89.4: Percentile where Manuel ranks among every QB Sport Science has tested, based on more than 20 factors. Only Colin Kaepernick and Ben Roethlisberger have scored higher.
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