Breaking Down the Panthers Week 2 Win Over the Bills

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CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 17: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers drops back to pass against the Buffalo Bills during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 17, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

History proves Bills dominance over Panthers

Usually, when the Buffalo Bills and Carolina Panthers meet, it is a defensive battle turned into a win for Buffalo. History proves that of the seven times the two teams have met, the Bills have won five. Enter Sean McDermott, the first-year Bills head coach formerly served as defensive coordinator for the Panthers. During his six years in Carolina, he was able to learn their strengths as well as their weaknesses.

The Panthers Week 2 was bittersweet, as they came away with a 9-3 victory, though it cost them their star tight end and roughed up their quarterback. Nevertheless, the Cardiac Cats won their first bout without scoring a touchdown. Let’s examine how.

Players Stepped Up

For three seasons, we’ve wondered what type of production Devin Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin would have, if any at all. Benjamin has 16 touchdowns in two of his first three seasons (he was out all of 2015 with a torn ACL) and almost 2,000 yards. Funchess isn’t too far behind with nine TDs and 844 yards. Both stand around 6’5, enough height to really give defenses a fit.

With Olsen out of the game, Cam Newton had the opportunity to connect with his other targets. Not only to Funchess and Benjamin who combined for 145 yards on eight targets, but there was also an Ed Dickson sighting. If they can get some production from Dickson in Olsen’s absence, 88 can get good resting time without the worry of having to rush back to help the team.

Strong Defense for Second-Straight Week

Carolina’s defense was the bright spot of last week’s win against the 49ers, and they didn’t disappoint this week either. That hefty defense had a first-half shutout against McDermott’s offense.

It is good to see that Julius Peppers still has something left in the tank after 16 seasons. He led the way with two sacks on Tyrod Taylor. Putting that kind of pressure on Taylor benefited the Panthers who, I think, may have otherwise lost the game.

James Bradberry, a second-year corner out of Samford, also gets a nod for how he has stepped up in the Panthers’ secondary. He broke up a crucial pass on the Bills last play of the game that, had the receiver caught it, would have set them up first and goal.

Time/Clock Management

The most important factor of the football game is the time of possession. The more time an offense has the ball, the less time the other team has to score. Carolina is a team that is known for utilizing this weapon against opponents.

This game was no exception. The Panthers had the ball for almost 39 minutes, which was amazing considering Buffalo sacked Newton six times.

Time of possession also goes back to the defense. Without them making and plays and getting off the field, the game would have been a heck of a lot more difficult to win.

Why the Panthers Beat the Bills

The Panthers beat the Bills because they made all the right decisions during the game. Not only did the offense spread the ball out utilizing all its weapons, but they also managed the clock well. Players like Peppers and Bradberry stepped up on defense making it a tough day at the office for McDermott and his men.

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