The Bills get a win in their 2nd preseason game, beating the Carolina Panthers 20-18 Friday night in Charlotte.
Overall, it was a mixed night for the starters who played into the 2nd quarter. They were only able to score 3 points, while giving up a touchdown.
A big positive though was EJ Manuel, who had a much better outing than last week, going 9 for 13, 96 yards, no TDs or INTs. He was decisive, which was a concern for him this week at practice.
The Bills came close to the end zone but Fred Jackson was stuffed twice on 3rd and short and 4th an inches inside the Carolina 3 yard line, leading to a turnover on downs.
Sammy Watkins played well having 3 catches for 21 yards. CJ Spiller ran with purpose having 3 carries for 22 yards.
The Bills starting defense played well, creating a lot of pressure and generally not giving the Panthers much. However, they did allow a TD early in the 2nd quarter on a great catch by Kelvin Benjamin, who tripped on the play but managed to make the catch from Derek Anderson. That gave the Panthers a 6-3 lead. They missed the extra point: remember extra points are 33 yarders for not only last week, but this and next week’s games around the NFL as an experiment.
Thad Lewis got the 2nd team duties, stepping in midway through the 2nd quarter. He finished 6 of 11 for 63 yards and led them on a TD drive that featured big runs by Bryce Brown and 1 yard TD by Anthony Dixon. That came after a Panthers’ turnover caused by DE Landon Cohen and recovered in Panthers’ territory by Manny Lawson.
In the second half the Bills’ depth players took over. DE Landon Cohen continued to stand out, constantly causing havoc in the Panther’s backfield.
No scoring in 3rd Quarter.
In the 4th the Panthers got a touchdown after a 13 play, 80 yard drive that ground down the Bills’ defense. They went for a 2 point conversion, but failed to convert, making it 13-12 Bills.
The Offense responded with an 11 play, 58 yard touchdown drive, highlighted by more big runs by Bryce Brown. Jeff Tuel finished off the drive with a 1 yard touchdown pass to rookie wide out Chris Summer on 4th and 1. That gave the Bills a 20-12 lead.
Things got a little wild late in the game. With 1:37 left, the Panthers got a touchdown to pull within 2, but their 2 point conversion was no good. Then they recovered an onside kick and were driving into field goal range, but Bills Safety Jonathan Meeks intercepted Panthers QB Joe Webb on a tip, ending the threat.
Bills hold on to win 20-18 for their first win of the preseason.
Up next, the Bills have a night practice at St. John Fisher tomorrow night (8/9) at 6pm. They Travel to and practice with the Pittsburgh Steelers next week. The two teams will then play next Saturday, 7:30pm.