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Bills vs. Panthers: Matt Barkley kicks butt as fill-in punter

The Bills’ emergency QB might have found a second calling

Buffalo Bills v Carolina Panthers Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images
Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

Buffalo Bills third-string quarterback Matt Barkley may have found another reason for the team to keep him on the practice squad following his performance in Friday night’s preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. In the game, Barkley filled in at punter and had a pretty good night.

Barkley booted four punts, including a 53-yard punt that landed after 30 yards and rolled another 23, pinning the Panthers inside their own ten. On the night, he had 160 total yards for an average of 40.0 yards per punt.

Passing the ball, Barkley was 9-of-13 for 100 yards with two sacks. He had to switch his helmet between one failed third-down conversion attempt and a fourth-down punt.

During the 2021 regular season, Bills’ punter Matt Haack averaged 42.9 yards per punt to finish second-worst in the stat. The worst team in the league, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, averaged 42.0 yards even. Barkley at least came close to that.

The Bills sat regular punter Matt Araiza due to startling allegations levied in a civil lawsuit filed on Thursday. Araiza was at the game (the only player not wearing the Bills logo when entering the facility) but did not dress and was not on the sideline during the game.