A dropped pass near the goal line allowed Carolina Panthers fans a sigh relief.
It was fourth and 11 on Carolina’s 33-yard line where Bills Tyrod Taylor had the ball in his hands. He dropped back out of the shotgun formation, threw deep, nearly 30 yards down the field to rookie receiver Zay Jones. Off the corner route Jones turned his body to make a play on the ball with both hands in the air the ball slipped right out of his hands as he came down to the ground on the 360 degree leap. Turnover on downs with 9 seconds remaining, the Panthers sealed a 9-3 win.
Panthers improved to 2-0 winning at home against Buffalo Bills Sunday. In a game that went down to the wire Panthers were able to pull off a victory against their former defensive coordinator Sean McDermott who is now Buffalo’s head coach. An element quarterback Cam Newton underestimated coming into the game.
Talking to reporters last Wednesday, September 13, Newton said the people in the room were making too big of a deal about playing against a former coordinator.
“This is not the first coach that we played against that was here before. I’m pretty sure with the great coaching staff we have here he won’t be the last,” Newton said.
Lacking focus on going against McDermott was stemming from his mindset when leading the Panthers offense.
“When this offense is at its best we can careless if the defense we are playing against is at their best too because we’ll still win,” Newton said.
With no touchdowns on offense this past Sunday, the Panthers were 0-3 in the redzone kicking three field goals. With that said, the offense managed to stay on the field for 38:53 and surrendered 0 turnovers.
“We have to find ways to put the ball in the last rectangle of the football field,” Newton told reporters postgame. “[But] when you go against your coaching staff that’s also familiar with what you do [they] pretty much have your playbook at their disposal…that can become a challenge within itself.
“Through it all you have to find ways to win the football game and…we did.”
Newton completed 20 of 32 passes for 228 yards and managed to avoid three tackles on a 15-yard run on a 3rd and 7 in the first quarter which was his longest run of the day.
While the offense maintained efficiency while not scoring touchdowns there’s a silver lining Panthers head coach Ron Rivera reminded reporters postgame.
“It shows that we don’t have to play at our best to win games,” Rivera said.
Through two weeks Panthers have allowed the least points in the NFL allowing 6 combined in two games. Week 2 they managed to hold LeSean McCoy to 9 yards rushing on 12 carries. Overall, they limited the Bills to 176 total yards.
“For this offense to go, I have to get going. And I didn’t get going at all today,” McCoy said during his postgame press conference.
On defense for the Panthers Julius Peppers stepped up with two sacks on the day. Winning is all he’s focused on this season and this is the group to do it, Peppers told reporters prior to the game.
“These guys are reliable, dependable teammates…its just a comfort level that I have here,” Peppers told reporters Wednesday. “It’s nice to play with a group of talented guys.”
Week 3 Panthers will take on their winless NFC South rivals New Orleans Saints (0-2).
By Gino Terrell