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Points after: Bills 24, Panthers 23

509441 PANTHERS AT BILLS #6
Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin breaks up a pass intended for Carolina's Steve Smith. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)

By Tim Graham

Quick highlights from the Buffalo Bills' thrilling victory over the Carolina Panthers in Ralph Wilson Stadium ...

What it means: The Bills were staring at an 0-2 start but came back to even their record. The Bills lost to the New England Patriots by one point on opening day and could be 2-0 with a bounce or two. There's a lot to feel good about.

Bills player of the game: Mario Williams was a boss. He set a Bills record and a new career-high with 4.5 sacks, three of them in the first half. Williams' previous personal-best was 3.5 sacks for the Texans in December 2007. Bruce Smith had four sacks for the Bills twice, Cornelius Bennett once.

 

Panthers player of the game: Panthers quarterback Cam Newton completed 21 of his 38 throws for 229 yards and two touchdowns, including a gorgeous, 40-yard strike to Ted Ginn in the end zone. Newton also kept several plays alive with his feet and ran for 15 yards.

Turbulent second half for the rookie: EJ Manuel committed two turnovers in a three-play span in the second half. Two plays after his first lost fumble, he threw his first interception. Carolina turned each short-field giveaway into a field goal. But Manuel led the Bills on a nine-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in 96 seconds. He finished 27 of 39 for 296 yards and a touchdown.

Plays of the game: The Panthers appeared to seal the game with safety Colin Jones' interception with 21 seconds to play. But Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly was called for pass interference, and the Bills kept the ball. Two snaps later, Manuel threw a 2-yard TD toss to Stevie Johnson for the victory. 

Preliminary injury report: Buffalo made it through without any injuries significant enough for a press-box announcement. Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus appeared to have a right knee issue in the first quarter but soon returned. ... A grenade went off in Carolina's secondary. It lost cornerback Josh Thomas (University at Buffalo) and safeties Charles Godfrey and Quintin Mikell. Carolina cornerback Charles Norman also missed time in the third quarter.

Coming up: The Bills will play their first road game next Sunday against the New York Jets at the Meadowlands.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | [email protected]


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | [email protected]


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | [email protected]

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