Panthers open preseason with narrow loss to Bills

nfl-kuechleyThe Carolina Panthers opened the 2014 preseason without starting quarterback Cam Newton but almost completed a last-second comeback in a 20-18 loss to the visiting Buffalo Bills.

With Newton recovering from offseason ankle surgery, the Panthers played it safe and started backup Derek Anderson. He opened the second quarter with a 32-yard touchdown pass to first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin, a receiver from Florida State. He stumbled but still made the diving catch in the end zone to put the Panthers ahead 6-3 after a missed PAT.

Buffalo’s Anthony Dixon ran for a touchdown, and EJ Manuel completed 9 of 13 passes for 96 yards, as the Bills held a 13-6 lead at halftime and stretched it to 20-12 late in the fourth quarter.

That’s when Carolina’s Joe Webb connected with Brandon Williams on a 31-yard score with 1:37 to go in the game, but his two-point conversion pass attempt failed. Webb was driving the Panthers into field goal range in the waning seconds but he was picked off to end the threat and the game.

Photo courtesy of Carolina Panthers

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