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Carolina Panthers

Bills defeat Panthers 24-23 on last second touchdown

Posted September 14, 2013
Updated September 15, 2013

Final: Graham Gano hit two field goals in the fourth to break the 14-14 tie and give the Panthers a 20-14 lead in the fourth. The Bills answered with a field goal of their own to bring the score to 20-17 with seven minutes to play. But the Panthers answered right back with another field goal. The Bills drove down the field to score a last second touchdown and win the game on a EJ Manuel to Stevie Johnson pass.

End of third quarter: Bills Dan Carpenter hit a 20-yard field goal to bring the score to 7-6 Panthers. A 40-yard pass from Cam Newton to Ted Ginn Jr. for a touchdown extended the Panthers lead, 14-6. Minutes later Fred Jackson took it in for the Bills on a four yard touchdown run, their two-point conversion attempt was good to tie the game at 14-14.

Halftime: Panthers 7, Bills 3: Former NC State defensive end Mario Williams has had three sacks on quarterback Cam Newton in the first half. The Panthers reached the redzone for the first time all day and were able to find the endzone on a Cam Newton to Greg Olsen pass. 

End of first quarter: Panthers quarterback Cam Newton threw an interception on the team's first drive but the Bills couldn't find the end zone and had to settle for a field goal attempt. The kick went wide leaving the game tied 0-0 after one. 

Preview: It's no secret in Buffalo that the Bills' secondary is thin and young.

So pardon safety Jim Leonhard if he wasn't taken by surprise upon hearing Panthers quarterback Cam Newton's intention to open up Carolina's passing attack against Buffalo on Sunday.

"It's the NFL. That's what they're supposed to do, right? Cam gets paid a lot of money to throw for a lot of yards," Leonhard said. "To me, it's not bulletin-board material. You can say what you want, young secondary. They're going to make us earn it. And we have to take that challenge."

It's a test the Bills (0-1) will face with an injury-depleted secondary. Top cornerback Stephon Gilmore is out with a broken wrist. And Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd's status remains uncertain while he's bothered by plantar fasciitis in both feet.

If that's not enough, the Bills were forced to shuffle their defensive backs roster further after backup cornerback Ron Brooks broke his right foot in a season-opening 23-21 loss to the New England Patriots.

That leaves Leodis McKelvin as the top cornerback, while Leonhard is already playing a regular role despite signing with the team two weeks ago.

Newton and the Panthers (0-1) have concerns of their own, coming off a 12-7 home loss to Seattle during which Newton managed a career-low 125 yards passing under new coordinator Mike Shula.

Coach Ron Rivera called the offensive approach too conservative. And Newton came out Wednesday to say the team "absolutely" plans to take more shots downfield after attempting just three passes that went 10 yards or longer.

Here are five other things to look for Sunday:

THREE-AND-OUTS: The Bills' new-look hurry-up offense didn't get very far, very fast in rookie quarterback EJ Manuel's debut. Though Manuel completed 18 of 27 passes for 150 yards and two TDs, the offense lacked consistency.

They managed just 15 first downs — five on a third-quarter touchdown drive — and converted just four of 13 third-down chances.

"Obviously, you've got to get that fixed," running back Fred Jackson said. "We can't leave our defense out there. We can't go three-and-out and put them back out there and make them have a long day."

RUN-STUFFING PANTHERS: The front-seven of Carolina's defense has picked up from where it ended last season in stopping the run.

The Panthers limited the Seahawks to 70 yards rushing. Dating to last season, Carolina has allowed an average of 57 yards rushing in its past five games.

That presents a daunting test for Buffalo's running attack, which had difficulty finding its groove last weekend. C.J. Spiller lost a fumble and finished with 17 carries for 41 yards, a significant drop-off after he finished second in the NFL last season by averaging a little over 6 yards a carry.

NO FINISH: New season, familiar lack of finish for Rivera and the Panthers after squandering a 7-6 fourth-quarter lead against Seattle. In 33 games since Rivera took over, the Panthers dropped to 2-13 in games decided by 7 points or less — a statistic that has put the coach on the hot seat.

The Panthers squandered a chance to retake the lead when running back DeAngelo Williams lost a fumble at the Seahawks 8 with 5:25 remaining. Seattle then ran out the clock.

"We're winning this game, and then I give away a hard-fought victory," Williams said.

O-LINE SHUFFLE: The Panthers are busy shuffling an unsettled offensive line.

Chris Scott will start at right guard after Garry Williams sustained a season-ending knee injury on Sunday. Left guard Amini Silatolu (hamstring) has been limited in practice this week after missing the opener. Travelle Wharton will start if Silatolu can't play.

THROWBACKS: The new-look Bills will get a glimpse into the past, when the team honors its 28-member Wall of Fame during a halftime ceremony. Among those on hand will be QBs Jim Kelly and Joe Ferguson, Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy, and families representing deceased members such as center Kent Hull and OT Bob Kalsu, the only pro football player killed during the Vietnam War.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

32 Comments

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  • Gunnstigator Sep 15, 9:46 a.m.

    I'm not pressing the panic button, but I consider this a "must win" game for the Panthers. The Bills are vulnerable and the Panthers really need to capitalize and get the win. Starting the season 0-2 will spell trouble for Rivera & Company.

  • Wheelman Sep 15, 10:49 a.m.

    If they don't stop running an offense that doesn't play to and use Newton's strengths, they will be looking at more than 0-2. Rivera will be gone and Cam will leave for an operation that isn't afraid to spend the money to build a team that can play to his strengths. I mean, why would Cam want to stay around?

  • I am not who you think I am Sep 15, 11:02 a.m.

    If they don't stop running an offense that doesn't play to and use Newton's strengths, they will... View More

    — Posted by Wheelman

    as someone said yesterday Cam's strengths don't go above his shoulders. Don't know why you fire a coach because a team doesn't play well, seems to me you would be better off firing the players who refuse to preform to expectations. In the real world you get fired from your job if you don't meet expectations rarely does your boss

    Cam is still meant to play TE or H-back in this league

    Prediction......Cam throws at least two interceptions Bills 17 Panthers 14

  • iron fist Sep 15, 11:05 a.m.

    If they don't stop running an offense that doesn't play to and use Newton's strengths, they will... View More

    — Posted by Wheelman

    as someone said yesterday Cam's strengths don't go above his shoulders. Don't know why you... View More

    — Posted by I am not who you think I am

    I agree Cam will throw a couple of ints but even the Panthers should win this game.

  • NEVER apologize for being white Sep 15, 11:24 a.m.

    A must win in week two!

  • wkmeekins Sep 15, 1:26 p.m.

    Super Mario

  • kornfan2448 Sep 15, 2:07 p.m.

    What an ugly game. Not a Panthers fan, but how can they look so good in a loss to a VERY good Seattle team and look like this against Buffalo? Seems they always play to the level of their competition. I thought for sure Carolina would win this game, and they still may, but I figured they'd look a lot better doing it.

  • wkmeekins Sep 15, 2:08 p.m.

    Is that 3 sacks for Mario?

  • Deacons Sep 15, 2:17 p.m.

    This teams sucks like they have have since their Super Bowl run. I am sick of it. Go Seahawks!

  • ACC22 Sep 15, 4:23 p.m.

    Ron another reminder make sure your resume is up to date

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