Bills fans as of late saw the Bills take the ball with less than two minutes left, march down the field, and then see Manuel get picked off to end the game... BUT WAIT! There's a pass interference call! And now Manuel tosses a TD pass to a wide open Stevie Johnson. I for one could get used to
some lots of wins in such a fantastic finish. The Bills, their new head coach and their rookie QB now have their first win under their belts, so let's see how they did overall...
Rushing Offense: B+
Welcome back C.J. Spiller. Spiller left behind a poor outing against the Pats, rebounding with a 16 carry, 103 yard (6.4 avg) outing including a beautiful 46 yard run in the second half. Jackson was quieter with 12 carries for 30 yards (2.5 avg) but also pounded in 1 TD. E.J. Manuel also had a beaut of a scramble setting up the Bills on the 2. While 149 yards and a TD are good, the Bills were able to run down the throat of a powerful front 7 Panther line.
Passing Offense: B+
I give E.J. Manuel a ton of props for maintaining his cool on the last 1:35 minute drive of the game. E.J. finished completing 27 of 39 passes (69.2%) for 296 yards a pick and a TD. He had some bad throws, but also did well like with the 2 point conversion to Robert Woods. Stevie Johnson also had a solid outing with 8 catches for 111 yards and a TD. And facing a talented Panthers D-Line, the Bills offensive line held there own, the only "sack" coming from Frank Summer's failed block on Mikell that resulted in a fumble.
Run Defense: A-
Still not great, but the Bills run defense did not give up as many big plays and held DeAngelo Williams to just 85 yards on 22 carries, or 125 yards for the Panthers as a whole. For those doing the math, that means the Bills did a heck of a job containing Cam Newton (and FB Mike Tolbert) as well. Kiko, Kyle and co. all made some nice stops. Williams longest run came off after a 4th down holding call in which most of the starters had just sat down on the bench.
Pass Defense: A
Mario Williams looked like all the hype that he brought in yesterday, setting a franchise record, 4.5 sacks. Kiko Alonzo and Marcell Dareus had the other 1.5 sacks. Newton did make two TD passes, one to TE Olson and the other on a deep ball to Ginn, that Rogers got behind. Again though, Leodis McKelvin was a solid starter with 5 tackles and 3 passes defended, limiting Steve Smith to just 5 catches for 52 yards. LB Kiko Alonzo had a really nice pick to stop the Panthers first drive.
Special Teams: B
Recently signed kicker Dan Carpenter missed his first field goal attempt, but made the next three including one from 55 yards. Powell was good as was kick coverage, Easley having a heck of a tackle on Ginn. Again, despite two nice catches, Frank Summers almost shot the Bills in the foot with a holding before the punt that set up a Panthers TD.
Once again, the Bills seemed a little undisciplined with 7 penalties, but give Marrone credit for the win. The hurry up (fast tempo) offense did the job on the last drive of the game. The 2 pt conversion was a gutsy but good call that Gailey would not have tried. Also, a field goal from beyond 50 yards, who knew (Gailey) that a kicker can actually make a kick from that distance. Still, a lot of fine-tuning is needed but, nice job from the staff to set up the Bills for the win. The only way to explain the reaction at the end of the game... FANDEMONIUM!!!