EJ Manuel and the Buffalo Bills will take the field on Friday night to battle the Carolina Panthers in the preseason.(Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig — USA Today Sports)
BBD Assistant Editor: Ryan Talbot
The Buffalo Bills held on late to defeat the Carolina Panthers 20-18.
Buffalo has plenty to feel encouraged about following the game. First, EJ Manuel rebounded from his first preseason game and looked confident against Carolina. He finished 9-of-13 for 96 yards and looked to stretch the field. Manuel found Chris Hogan for a 32 yard gain and Mike Williams for a 28 yard pass. He wasn’t perfect as he did stare down his receivers at times, but it was a positive step in the right direction.
Buffalo’s running backs also performed well against the Panthers. Buffalo’s top four backs ran 28 times for 124 yards and a touchdown. Bryce Brown looked elusive but didn’t shy from contact. Anthony Dixon also looked very athletic and grinded forward for some tough yards.
Sammy Watkins also recorded his first three receptions against the Panthers. I’m guessing he won’t appear on “Overreaction Monday” on ESPN this week.
The starting defense also looked great against the run. It’s only the preseason, but it’s encouraging to see how strong Buffalo’s defense looks against the run based upon their struggles in 2013.
All in all, the Buffalo Bills looked solid on both sides of the ball.