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Bills vs. Panthers final score: Buffalo falls late to Carolina, 25-24

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The Buffalo Bills lost to the Carolina Panthers in their preseason opener Friday night, even with some surprisingly good quarterback play. Here's your quick recap.

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The Buffalo Bills rode a strong defense and competent quarterback play to a halftime lead, then led late into the fourth quarter, but ultimately gave up an ugly touchdown with a minute remaining in a 25-24 preseason-opening loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Matt Cassel led one trip into the red zone on two efficient drives with the first-team offense, but a badly shanked Jordan Gay field goal opportunity meant zero points. (Gay later made a 52-yarder to somewhat make up for it.)

The starting defense allowed one play over two yards, forcing two punts on the first two drives, but Cam Newton found Kelvin Benjamin on the third drive for a touchdown over a physically overmatched Ronald Darby.

Tyrod Taylor made several eye-popping plays with his legs and showed off accuracy in his passing game, as well, though it was with the second team. He led two scoring drives in the first half.

EJ Manuel took over for the majority of the second half, and while his receivers had several drops and his center wasn't helping him out with quality snaps, he had one of the best game throws of his career for a 50-yard touchdown to Deonte Thompson. All three quarterbacks really did nothing to change the minds of fans.

Buffalo next faces the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night. We'll have much more tomorrow morning as we dissect the preseason opener.

Here are some of the highlights to wrap up: