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Bills vs Panthers-Preseason Game II For The Buffalo Bills

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Bills vs Panthers August 8th 2014
The Carolina Panthers preseason opener was ruined by the Buffalo Bills as the Bills defeated the Panthers 20-18 on Friday night at Bank of America stadium. It was the 2nd preseason game for the Bills and that showed early on. Clemson alumni CJ Spiller and Sammy Watkins played well in their limited action as they were back in there college area of Charlotte, NC.
The first play of the game from scrimmage Spiller burst through the left side of the offensive line stopped on a dime and cut back on Panthers LB Chase Blackburn enroute to a 14 yard gain. Watkins then wanted to get in on the action and EJ Manuel found Watkins on the 3rd offensive play of the game for a nice 14 yard gain for Watkins first professional catch. The starting offensive line for the Bills did an above average job especially EJ Henderson who only got beat for a sack once by All Pro Panthers DE Greg Hardy. However guards Kraig Urbik and Chris Williams were pushed back into Manuel’s face repeatedly while the Panthers first string defense was in the game making it hard for Manuel to complete any long passes. Manuel however did look sharp hitting short dump off passes to nearby open receivers. It was very weird not seeing WR Stevie Johnson on the line shaking off defenders but Manuel looked very comfortable with another slick moving California native WR in Robert Woods. On defense the Bills held up very well despite the offseason trouble of Marcell Dareus and the losses of Jairus Byrd (free agency) and Kiko Alonso (injury). The Bills defense stopped the run with relative ease and had the Panthers offensive line on their heels all night long. LB Keith Rivers caught my eye as he was shedding blockers and was around the ball carrier the entire time he was in the game. He also made a nice play to break up a pass from Panthers QB Derek Anderson to the intended target of RB Kenjon Barner.
The Bills did not play a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination but it was a vast improvement from the Giants game to the Panthers game. The Bills should be even better as they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh on Saturday August 16th.

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