ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — After two straight losses for the first time this season, the Bills bounced back and stayed in the playoff hunt with an 31-14 win over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
With COVID-19 positives running rampant through the NFL this week, the Bills were effected with a number of players out after testing positive. On Monday, linebacker Tyrel Dodson was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Starting left tackle Dion Dawkins tested positive for COVID for the second time in five months on Friday, and did not test negative in time to play on Sunday. Just hours before kickoff, the Bills announced that Jon Feliciano also was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, marking the second offensive lineman to be out for the game.
Panthers kicker Dane Gonzales suffered a quad injury in pregame warmups, so Carolina did not have the option to kick field goals. With field goals out of the question offensively, the Panthers opted to go for it on fourth down more than often, and a crucial turnover on downs at midfield turned into a touchdown by the Bills on the next possession in the second quarter to give the Bills the 14-0 lead.
The Bills defense stood up today, sacking Cam Newton four times for a loss of 32-yards, and keeping the Panthers to just one fourth down conversion on five attempts. Buffalo’s D holds Newton and the Panthers to 124 yards passing.
Gabriel Davis had himself a game for the Bills, catching five passes for 85-yards and two touchdowns, marking the first multiple TD game of his career. Davis proved to be a solid target for Josh Allen today, setting up the Bills offensively in multiple scoring drives.
Josh Allen finished 19 of 34 for 210 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
With the win over Carolina, the Bills snap the two-game losing streak and improve to 8-6 on the season. After the Patriots dropped Saturday night’s game against the Indianapolis Colts, the Kansas City Chiefs now lead the AFC.
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
2Q: After the Panthers turn the ball over on downs at midfield, the Bills go 49-yards down the field, primarily through the air on four passes, and cap off the drive with a 16-yard touchdown run by Devin Singletary for the first score of the game. 7-0 Bills.
2Q: The Bills defense stands up and forces Carolina to go three and out on the Panthers next possession, including a 10-yard sack on Cam Newton by Taron Johnson, and after a 14-yard punt by the Panthers, Buffalo turns around and takes it 57-yards with five consecutive passes and finish with an 11-yard pass and catch from Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs for the TD. 14-0 Bills.
2Q: Allen throws an interception at the Bills own 37-yard line, and three plays later, Cam Newton runs it in for the 4-yard touchdown. Carolina completes the two-point conversion to make it a six point game. 14-8 Bills.
2Q: On the Bills next possession, they take it 63-yards down the field and finish with a 26-yard Tyler Bass field goal to cap off the half. 17-8 Bills.
3Q: Buffalo goes 74-yards in 10 plays, including a big 29-yard pass from Allen to Gabriel Davis, and the pair connect again in the end zone for a 20-yard TD to mark Davis’ third straight game with a touchdown pass. 24-8 Bills.
4Q: After the Bills put up a fourth down stand and take over at their own six-yard line, Buffalo punts it away after going three and out. The Panthers then cap off a four-play drive with a 23-yard touchdown from Newton to Ameer Abdullah. 24-14 Bills.
4Q: The Bills get back into the end zone with just two minutes left in the game and put together a nine play, 46-yard drive that ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Allen to Davis. 31-14 Bills.
4Q: AJ Klein picks off Newton in the Panthers final possession for the final nail in the coffin.