Panthers Beat Buffalo Bills 9-3

Carolina now 2 and 0

Ed Jenson
September 17, 2017 - 9:02 pm
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Carolina's defense allowed only three points for the second straight week, and Graham Gano converted three field goals as the Panthers held on to defeat the Buffalo Bills 9-3 to remain unbeaten.

The Panthers (2-0) held Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy in check all day, limiting the Bills (1-1) to 176 yards and 10 first downs. McCoy had 9 yards on 12 carries and Taylor had 125 yards passing. The Panthers had three sacks, two by Julius Peppers in his first home game since re-signing with them.

"I have all of the confidence and trust and belief in these guys," said Peppers, who has 146 career sacks . "We all play for one another. I feel like the sky is the limit."

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Peppers was simply awesome and is turning out to be a great fit in Carolina with three sacks in two games.

"He has found a niche with the way we rotate these guys to keep them fresh," Rivera said.

With Carolina's offense struggling to move the ball and tight end Greg Olsen out with a broken right foot , the Panthers didn't put the game away until 9 seconds remained when Taylor's fourth-and-11 pass sailed off diving rookie Zay Jones' fingertips .

"It was a great call by our coaching staff and a good throw by Tyrod," Jones said. "I just didn't make the play to help my team win this game."

The Panthers beat San Francisco 23-3 in Week 1.

"We'll take three points a week — that's a good showing for us," Peppers said.

Cam Newton was 20 of 32 for 228 yards and ran for 27 yards but was sacked six times by Sean McDermott's defense and overthrew an open Christian McCaffrey at the goal line with less than three minutes remaining that could have sealed the victory. McDermott was Panthers defensive coordinator for the previous six seasons before taking over as head coach of the Bills earlier this year.

"We knew the skill set of Cam Newton coming in," McDermott said. "Our staff did a phenomenal job (with a game plan), and I just helped. We pressured him and confused him a little."

Newton, who twisted his ankle in the third quarter but stayed in the game, said he can't afford to "miss layups."

It was the second straight week he overthrew an open receiver in the end zone.

"I'm disappointed in myself but happy for the overall team just to see how we battled to win a football game," Newton said. "It wasn't pretty at all. But anytime you can get a win in this league, you take it and run with it. But I know I have to be better."

Said coach Ron Rivera: "It is tough to win in this league when all you do is kick field goals. But you have to give the Bills credit because they played hard."

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