Orchard Park, NY (WBEN) On a day when the Buffalo Bills honored their Wall of Fame Members, the team provided their fans with a finish that was exciting as the teams of long ago. Rookie quarterback, E.J. Manuel got a big finish after giving up two turnovers late in the game and led the team on a nine-play, 80-yard drive in 1:13 to get a big 24-23 win over the Carolina Panthers at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The Bills tried to open the scoring when they took the ball down field following a Kiko Alonso interception of Panthers’ quarterback, Cam Newton but failed to get any points. Dan Carpenter missed a 42 yard field goal try. Carpenter did bounce back a short time later with a 55-yard score to give the Bills a 3-0 lead.
Defensive end Mario Williams had a stellar half for the Bills as he sacked Newton (21/38/229/2/1) three times in the first half but Newton did get the last say as he found his tight end, Greg Olsen for a 13-yard scoring pass with seconds to go in the second quarter, giving the Panthers a 7-3 at the half. Williams finished the day with 4.5 sacks.
Buffalo was able to drive the ball deep into Carolina territory in the third quarter but had to settle for another field goal. Carolina responded with another Newtown touchdown pass, this time to Ted Ginn Jr. for a 14-6 lead.
Manuel (27/39/296/1/1) and the Bills responded with an eight-play, 80 yard drive which was capped by a four-yard touchdown run by Fred Jackson followed by a Manuel to Robert Woods two-point conversion which tied the score at 14.
The Bills held the Panthers on their next possession only to surrender the ball deep in their own end when Manuel fumbled the ball away. Carolina only managed a field goal for a 17-14 lead. Manuel then turned the ball over again in Bills territory when his pass was intercepted by linebacker, Luke Kuechley at the Buffalo 26 yard line again though, Carolina settled for three points to increase their lead to 20-14.
C.J. Spiller displayed his explosive play on the Bills’ next possession with a 46-yard run but the drive stalled and Carpenter was brought out for a 48-yard field goal to cut the Panthers’ lead to 20-17.
Carolina took over and decided to chew-up the clock by running the ball against the Bills defense which could not muster a stop and wound up getting a field goal to virtually insure the victory but Manuel guided the team downfield in just over one minute with no time outs left. He also got some help with a pass interference call on Stevie Johnson, who a brief time later caught the tying pass from Manuel. Carpenter added the extra point to seal the exciting win.
The Bills are now 1-1 and travel to the Jets next Sunday.