The Carolina Panthers kicked off the 2018 NFL preseason with a road win over the Buffalo Bills last Thursday, overcoming a 10-point halftime deficit to earn a 28-23 victory. The Panthers scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to rally past the Bills in their first of four tune-up games for the regular season.
As expected, starting quarterback Cam Newton only played a couple of series, completing 6 of 9 passes for 84 yards and engineering a scoring drive on Carolina’s second series. Following Newton’s 28-yard pass to first-year Panther Jarius Wright, Christian McCaffrey scampered into the end zone from 2 yards out to even the score at 7-all late in the opening quarter.
Newton wasn’t the only Carolina quarterback to impress in the contest, as Garrett Gilbert and Taylor Heinicke also played well. As a result, the battle to be the team’s second-string quarterback was far from decided because both guys looked good in the opener.
After the game, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said the following:
“I did like what I saw from the backup quarterbacks. Both guys played well. Both guys did some really good things. We had some guys make plays across the board as a football team, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”
In addition to the play of Gilbert and Heinicke, there were a couple other major takeaways from Week 1 of the preseason. Rookie wide receiver D.J. Moore was another standout performer for the Panthers, while the play of the secondary was a major negative.
Here are three takeaways from the Panthers’ first preseason game.
Next Page: Takeaway No. 1