Panthers beat Bills at home after Mayfield, Darnold account for 3 touchdowns
In his first game since being named the starter, Baker Mayfield passed for two touchdowns in limited action.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Carolina Panthers defeated the Buffalo Bills 21-0 on Friday night in their lone preseason game at Bank of America Stadium.
In the team’s final tune-up game before the regular-season opener against the Cleveland Browns, quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold put up solid performances, combining for three total touchdowns.
Mayfield, who was named the team’s starter earlier this week, piloted the Panthers’ offense for the first four possessions of the game, passing for two touchdowns, including a 19-yard dime to Shi Smith up the seam.
He finished his night completing 9 of 15 passes for 89 yards and the two scores.
Darnold took the field for three drives before leaving with an ankle injury toward the end of the third quarter. In limited action, he rushed for a touchdown and completed 5 of 11 passes for 49 yards.
Perhaps one of the most encouraging takeaways for the Panthers is that they did not give up a sack.
Thanks to free-agent additions Austin Corbett and Bradley Bozeman (although Bozeman is currently dealing with an injury), and first-round pick Ikem Ekwonu, the offensive line should be much better than last year’s.
Smith, a second-year receiver out of the University of South Carolina, continued to impress on Friday night as he has all offseason. He has taken advantage of extra reps throughout training camp and the preseason with fellow second-year man Terrace Marshall out for large portions of time with an injury.
Defensively, linebacker Frankie Luvu, who burst onto the scene with the Panthers last season, had a good night, totaling eight tackles in a limited number of snaps.
The lone turnover of the game came when a tipped Case Keenum pass was picked off by Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn.
Head coach Matt Rhule and general manager Scott Fitterer now have until this coming Tuesday to trim the team’s roster down to 53 players.
After that, the team will then have just under two weeks to prepare for the season-opener against the Browns.
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