Buffalo Bills Preseason Game 2 Recap

Bills 20       Panthers 18

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Well Doug Marrone showed us he really wanted to win with playing his starters (who needed the work) until the eleven minute mark of the second quarter. The offense looked sharp immediately going down the field with precision. Motivated by running backs waiting to shine, C.J. Spiller ran the first play 14 yards. He then had a second carry for a few. Then we saw EJ finally get the ball to Sammy Watkins and this beauty went for 14 yards and another first down. C.J. then runs for 3 and Sammy catches his second catch for 5 yards. EJ looks like he is in command! On his next throw he hits Chris Hogan with a timely pass down the right sidelines to convert a 3rd-and-3. Hogan caught the ball at the Panthers 43 and ran it all the way to the Panthers 11.

The Bills looked like world beaters against a Panther starting defense that was one of the best last year. At the Panther 11, Fred Jackson ran hard for 4 yards and then again to the two yard line. It was then third down and with all systems firing, reality set in with us being over confident.

We just could not get it in! Fred tries on third and NATA! We go for it on Fourth and we still unbelievably could not punch it in. The Panthers took over on downs and we all then remember that we are not as good as that drive looked and need to work on solidifying touchdowns!

Carolina takes over and our starting defense looks like last week and gives the Panthers nothing and they go 3 and out. Brandon Spikes is all over and is another huge acquisition! The Panthers are using backup Quarterback Derek Anderson with starter Cam Newton not playing. Well I should say not playing in this game but he was definitely playing for the cameras on the sidelines. Yes, it was making me sick!

Nickell Robey returned the punt 16 yards and the Bills started this second drive in field goal range. On first down EJ held the ball to long and got himself sacked. On second, Spiller ran for 7 yards. Spiller looked determined to prove he is the man. I believe this running back competition will make all our backs better. On third down EJ continued his strong play with a nice pass to Robert Woods for the first down.

Manuel then found Watkins again for another 16 yards. It is apparent that Watkins will be one of the best. His hands are remarkable! After a screen pass to Fred Jackson loses 4 yards, EJ overthrows tight end Scott Chandler and the Bills settle for a 37 yard field goal by Dan Carpenter. The Bills looked much better than a week ago, but nobody is forgetting our need to see the starters score touchdowns!

Carolina then puts it in gear with decent runs and catches. Stephon Gilmour was caught for interference which also helped the Panthers along with excellent running by Panther quarterback Derek Anderson. Each run by Anderson that resulted in first downs had the cameras once again on Cam Newton.

Gilmour continues to get picked on and he cannot stay with Panther receiver Kelvin Benjamin and the Panthers score a long touchdown pass and lead the game by 3. Gilmour really did not look good in this game and I hope he plays better! Luckily the Panthers miss the extra point and the Bills stay at a 3 point deficit as the first quarter comes to an end.

Our starters stay out and after a few plays, Spiller runs for a first down. Jackson runs for 1 and on second down EJ throws to the sky and receiver Mike Williams comes down with it. Mike Williams is so talented and he brings confidence to this team. He is another great acquisition. It’s going to be so exciting with Sammy Watkins on one side and Mike Williams on the other. Spiller then runs wild for a huge gain but it’s called back on a holding penalty. The bills could do nothing further and punt. 

The offensive starters would now be out with 11:46 remaining to play in the second quarter. Manuel would end this day going 9 out of 13 for 96 yards. Spiller had a great day with 3 carries for 22 yards.

The Panthers would still go against our defensive starters and could do nothing as they went 3 and out. Thad Lewis would come in to play the rest of the second and most of the third quarter. He finished the game going 6-11 for 63 yards. Running back Bryce Brown showed again why he is special with running hard for 25 yards on his first two carries. Anthony Dixon another very good running back capped this five-play 28 yard drive with a 1 yard touchdown. Brown would finish as Buffalo’s leading rusher with 11 carries for 64 yards.

Da’Norris Searcy intercepted an overthrown pass and returned it to the Carolina 38. The Bills would score a field goal and go ahead 13 to 6.

After a scoreless third quarter, Carolina had an 80 yard 23 play drive that resulted in a 6 yard touchdown by Darrin Reaves. The Panthers failed in their 2 point attempt which would become a trend in this one and Buffalo held a slim lead 13-12. 

T.J. Graham’s 38 yard kick return helped set up quarterback Jeff Tuel  to Chris Summers touchdown pass capping an 11 play 58 yard drive. With Carpenter’s extra point, the Bills would lead 20 to 12.

To their credit, the panthers fought back and quarterback Joe Webb looked good as he completed a 31 yard pass to Brandon Williams for a huge touchdown with only 1:37 to go. Once again the Panthers went for two to tie it up and like last time, the Bills stopped them.

But it was not over!

The Panthers try, what we all expect, an onsides kick and they unbelievably recover it! The Bills looked real bad here as it went right through the hands of Naaman Roosevelt. There is simply no way that this should be tolerated!

The Panthers had the ball on their 39 but were soon stalled when Jonathan Meeks intercepted a tipped pass to preserve the Bills first preseason win.

All in all this was a good game with our starters looking much better. Defensively we looked great but Stephon Gilmour did not and needs to improve. Cornerback and special teams player Ron Brooks had an excellent game, as did DE Jarius Wynn and LB Randall Johnson who both had sacks in the game.

Michael Okun
Sports Writer for The Herd Report.