- The Panthers may be 2–0 after a 9–3 victory over the Bills, but there are plenty of issues plaguing the Carolina offense.
CHARLOTTE — Three quick thoughts on the Panthers’ 9–3 win over the Bills...
1. I’m not sure how well this offense can operate without Greg Olsen, who broke his foot in the first half and did not return to the game. Last season Olsen became the first tight end in NFL history with three consecutive 1,000 receiving yard seasons and, no matter what the statistics may bear, he’s been Cam Newton’s No. 1 receiving option since Steve Smith was shown the door. A great pass-catcher and average run-blocker, Olsen is replaced by Ed Dickson, who is neither of those things. After he left the game, the Panthers mustered just six points on offense.
2. Marooned in Cleveland for four years and on the bench for three of them, Jordan Poyer is making a name for himself as the starting free safety for the Bills. Poyer had an interception and three tackles against the Jets in Week 1, and he followed that performance Sunday with seven solo tackles and the biggest pass breakup of the day. Poyer delivered a blow to 6' 5" Kelvin Benjamin’s right side as Benjamin was coming back down to earth in the end zone that jarred the ball loose. Poyer had three total passes defensed along with a Newton sack on a blitz. He signed a four-year deal worth $13 million in March and is establishing himself as the class of Buffalo’s secondary.
3. Newton’s accuracy issues appeared again in Week 2, and this time it could have been costly. Against San Francisco in Week 1, Newton overthrew a wide-open Dickson in the end zone and was high and wide to Benjamin twice. Once again, Newton missed Dickson high in the second half Sunday after escaping pressure on third-and-17. But that drive-ending miss wasn’t the worst of them. Newton rolled right at the goal line with three minutes left in the game and had Christian McCaffrey open in front of the end zone but overthrew him on a touch pass. The overthrows against the 49ers didn’t matter in the 20-point win, but his misses against Buffalo gave the Bills a chance going into the two-minute drill.