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Bills Lose By A Fingertip 9-3
Defense wilted in the heat after inspiring effort.
by Steve Saslow
at
Week 2
Bills  3
Panthers  9
Gameday Grades
The Skinny:
In a game where no touchdowns were scored it was exciting in the end but the Bills fell fingertips short in a 9-3 loss to the Panthers. The Bills defense had a beautiful goal line stand to force the Panthers to kick a field goal with 2:35 left. The Bills drove down the field for the best drive of the day when on 4th and 11 Tyrod Taylor had Zay Jones wide open for a game winning touchdown but the high throw went off his hands at the four yard line and that was the ballgame. The Bills defense played a great game with the offense struggling mightily throughout the game. The Bills sacked Cam Newton six times but couldn't take the ball away which was needed to help the pitiful offense.

The Turning Point:
Pass Interference On Holmes: The Bills were driving for a possible game winning touchdown when Andre Holmes caught a pass and got out of bounds at the 20. The defender complained and got a late offensive pass interference call which was a very weak call. That took the wind out of the Bills sails although if the play at the end could be made the Bills would have still won.

The Big Drive:
The final FG: The Panthers had their best offensive series after Cam Newton was shaken up and then went 73 yards in 15 plays while taking 8:34 off the clock. The Bills held after the Panthers had a first and goal at the one thanks to an E.J. Gaines pass interference in the end zone. The Panthers settled for a field goal that could have been costly if Jones holds on to the high throw from Taylor two minutes later.

Stat I Did Like:
Halftime Score: The Bills trailed 6-0 but it is amazing that it wasn't much worse after how one sided the half was.

Stat I Didn't Like:
First Half Stats: Time of possession favored Carolina 23:07 to 6:53 and they had an edge in total yards 193-39. First downs favored Carolina 12-1.

Scene Setters:
- It was a homecoming for Sean McDermott, Brandon Beane, Joe Webb, Mike Tolbert, Kaelin Clay, and Leonard Johnson.
- The Bills wore their blue jerseys and white pants.
- There were a huge amount of Bills fans around Charlotte all weekend and at the game making themselves heard.
- Brandon Tate, Jelani Jenkins, Vlad Ducasse, Conor McDermott, Khari Lee, and Joe Banyard were inactive for the game leaving Kaelin Clay and Taiwan Jones to handle return duties.

Key Matchup Results:
The winners of the battles highlighted in our preview article:
RB LeSean McCoy vs. LB Luke Kuechly: Winner: Kuechly. Shady couldn't get anything going he had zero yards on three carries in the first half.
LG John Miller vs. LB Thomas Davis: Winner: Davis. Miller got run over once and the Bills had no push in the run game.
DE Jerry Hughes vs. LT Matt Kalil: Winner: Hughes. He had two sacks and was dominant.
LB Ramon Humber vs. RBs James Stewart and Christian McCaffrey: Winner: Humber. The Bills shutdown the Panthers running game.

Keys To The Game Results:
How the keys highlighted in our preview article turned out:
1. Keep The Crowd Out Of The Game: Failure! The Bills did nothing in the first half on offense to take the Panthers crowd out of the game.
2. Contain Cam: Failure! He avoided a few sacks early and got some good gains with his feet to extend drives.
3. Win Turnover Battle: Neither! Neither team turned the ball over. The Bills needed turnovers to help the offense but didn't get any.

My Take:
We have been saying for a long time that Taylor needs to finish games to be considered a quality NFL quarterback. He had another chance today then overthrew Jones. A good throw there and it's a game winning touchdown. That hurt that they got that close to winning a game they had no business being in and lost that way.

What's Ahead:
The Bills return home for a battle with the Denver Broncos.

Gameballs
  • Jordan Poyer - He led the team with 11 tackles and had a sack while breaking up two passes in the end zone.
  • Jerry Hughes - He had two sacks.
  • Colton Schmidt - He had six punts for a whopping 49.5 yard average.
  • Bills Defense - They had six sacks and played great despite being on the field way too much on a hot and humid play.


  • Goats
  • LeSean McCoy - He had 12 carries for just 9 yards. Ouch.
  • Tyrod Taylor - He threw for just 125 yards and missed the wide open receiver for the win.
  • Sean McDermott - His first loss came with a mismanagement of timeouts. He wasted one on defense and didn't use them wisely in the final drive.


  • Player Of The Week
  • Jordan Poyer - His pass breakups saved eight points.


  • Positional Breakdown and Grades
    NFL.com Gamebook
    Panthers Game Preview
    Gameday Homepage




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