Manuel has not started since the beginning of October due to a knee injury sustained against the Cleveland Browns. His rookie season had been a mixed bag where Manuel led the Bills to a 2-3 record, including two games where he posted a passer rating of more than 85.0.
The team was forced to turn to quarterbacks Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel while Manuel recovered, but neither was able to deliver wins to Buffalo. Without Manuel, the team went 1-3 and the offense lacked consistency. Sunday's game against the Steelers will be an opportunity for the Bills to halt their two game slide, and try to put together a run so they can threaten for a wild card spot.
Most importantly, Manuel's ability to play allows first-year head coach Doug Marrone more opportunities to evaluate his young quarterback and get him regular season reps, which will put the team in good stead for 2014 and beyond.