After coming all the way down to an end of the game drive, a pass from Joe Webb to Marcus Lucas was bobbled and intercepted, giving the Bills a 20-18 win in the Panthers' first preseason game.
Derek Anderson started the game at quarterback and went 5/7 for 65 yards and a touchdown to rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin. Once Anderson went out, he was replaced by the very unreliable Matt Blanchard who did nothing of note. But once Joe Webb walked onto the field, the whole dynamic of the game changed, as the former Viking went 16/28 for 180 yards and a touchdown.
Joe Webb has made a good case for Ron Rivera and Company to keep three quarterbacks, especially with Webb’s ability to play receiver in a pinch.
On the offensive line, both Byron Bell and Nate Chandler did not help stop the critics. While Bell did hold the left side decently, the quarterbacks didn't have as much time as they would have if Jordan Gross was still around. Nate Chandler on the other hand allowed two sacks to be given up on the right side, so maybe we have more to worry about from the tackle positions then Dave Gettleman would like to have us believe.
Surprisingly, the receivers and tight ends played pretty well, and even showed a lot of promise. As I said above, Kelvin Benjamin showed his skill, along with our three tight ends Greg Olsen, Ed Dickson, and Brandon Williams.
The battle for the 5th receiver spot is still up in the air. By the looks of things, there are only two competitors for the spot: Brenton Bersin and Tavarres King. Bersin was able to show that he was ready for an NFL roster spot once Blanchard left the game and was replaced with a quality quarterback. King was the star receiver of the game though, making four great receptions. As of right now, Bersin is in front, but based on King's play, things could change quickly.
The only running backs that played last night were Tolbert, Barner, Reaves, and Whitaker. The only running back outside of Tolbert that seemed worth keeping was Fozzy Whitaker, and that was due to two receptions where he gained a lot of yardage with his speed. Unfortunately, Kenjon Barner didn't play as many would have hoped for, as he struggled throughout the game.
The front seven appeared just as capable as they were last year. New comer Kony Ealy impressed as well, and will be quality back up for sure. All of the secondary performed admirably, Cason seemed to struggle adapting to the new scheme but I am sure he will get used to it.
Josh Norman continues his streak of good pre-season play, more than likely losing it once the regular season starts up. He appeared much more mouthy than usual, a character quality I doubt will help him earn a spot on the roster.
Panthers who impressed:
Panthers who disappointed:
At first glance, while these types of games obviously have limited meaning, this year’s Panthers team looks pretty good with the exception of the offensive line. Hopefully, the O-Line will improve as the preseason moves on, and be ready for a difficult regular season ahead.