It's finally here. Football season!
WFMY News 2 is the Triad's home of the Carolina Panthers and right here, we'll track all the action this season right here on our live blog for ALL Panthers games. We'll track your favorite team every week and provide live in-game updates, commentary and stats as the Panthers hope to regain their 2015 form where they reached the Super Bowl.
Hey guys, I'm digital producer Ryan Bisesi and I'm back after a week off and ready to follow the Panthers into their Week 7 matchup at Chicago. Thanks to “Carrie The Cardiac Cat Fan” for helping out and blogging the Eagles game last week. Let's look ahead to today's game in Chicago.
Panthers (4-2) Vs. Bears (2-4)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
TV: WFMY News 2
Last Week: Panthers lost to Eagles 28-23, Bears Beat Ravens 27-24 in overtime
FINAL: BEARS 17, PANTHERS 3
Bears get their fourth first down of the game and their first of the half. Trubisky has four completions. To say their defense got this win is correct.
The Bears haven't won consecutive games since November of 2015. Today will likely end that streak. The Panthers only have four takeaways this season and committed three turnovers today.
Stats from this game will look weird as the Bears haven't really done much on offense aside from a long pass to Cohen. Trubisky is sacked on third down and the Bears still just have three first downs and 133 total yards today. And they're in line to win.
Newton throws an interception on third and 7. Newton was running to his right and threw it right to Trevathan, who was in front of McCaffrey. The third turnover for Carolina and the Bears can put a bow on this one here. They take over at the Carolina 38.
A big stop on third and 1 for the Panthers, who stop Howard on an off-tackle run four yards in the backfield. Panthers get good field position, but are running out of time with 7:26 left.
CBS' sideline crew reporting Newton 'doesn't look 100 percent.' Newton's third and 2 throw to Benjamin is too high and it's another three and out. Bears get the ball back with 9:42 left. Bears still don't have a first down in the second half. Trubisky has only thrown six passes after Chicago jumped out to a 14-0 lead early.
Bears just trying to eat clock here with two runs to start the drive. Third and long ends in a Trubisky sack by Kawann Short. Panthers still hanging around and get the ball at their own 24.
Panthers forced to punt again. The defensive scores by Chicago loom large, but the Panthers' offense hasn't been cohesive today and Newton has been under constant pressure. Big plays have been hard to come by. Stewart has just 48 yards on 14 carries. McCaffrey has seven catches, but only for 36 yards.
END THIRD QUARTER: Bears 17, Panthers 3
Curtis Samuel with a huge catch and run to the Chicago 35-yard line for a 20-yard play. He outran Kyle Fuller to make the catch along the sideline and turn for a long run upfield. Another offensive line hit for Carolina as Trai Turner is hurt after the play.
The Panthers finding a rhythm on offense, but an offensive pass interference penalty on Benjamin negates what would have been a first down. Panthers back at their own 29 for 2nd and 18. The Bears are hit with their first penalty on a face mask during what would have been the fifth sack of Newton. First down Panthers.
A second-down sack of Trubisky forces third and long and the Panthers hold. McCaffrey with a good return, but it's nullified by a hold. Panthers keep shooting themselves in the foot, but still have a pulse down 17-3 late third quarter.
Panthers go for it on fourth and 2 and Newton is stopped short. Not sure about that playcall with two offfensive linemen banged up. A big stop for the Bears. This one feels like the Panthers have left points on the table. Several drives have gone deep with just three points to show for it.
McCaffrey continues to make plays on this drive with a highlight-worthy one-handed catch. Panthers' third and 5 comes up short on another pass to McCaffrey.
A huge play by Newton to avoid the sack and find McCaffrey open for a first down. Panthers have 16 first downs to Chicago's 3.
HALFTIME: Bears 17, Panthers 3
It's hard to win when you give up two defensive scores, but the Panthers should be glad to only be down 14. The Bears' defense continues to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. Trubisky had just two completed passes in the first half, one of which was a 70-yard bomb to Cohen. Here's some halftime stats:
Halftime stats 😬 pic.twitter.com/HVD2AIRZWz— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) October 22, 2017
An effort to get points before the end of the half goes for naught as the Panthers can't spike the ball in time to attempt a field goal. A tremendous catch by Benjamin put the Panthers inside the red zone, but it results in no points.
Coach Luke in the 🏠— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) October 22, 2017
More on 👻: NFLPanthers pic.twitter.com/8rTRDihEvj
Carolina Panthers (3-1) Vs. Detroit Lions (3-1)
Sunday, Oct. 8, 1 p.m.
Last Week: Panthers beat the Patriots 33-30, Lions beat the Vikings 14-7
Panthers are 4-1 after third consecutive road victory to start the season. It's the third time in franchise history the team is 4-1.
On third and 8, Newton fires one to Benjamin for a 17-yard catch and a first down to seal the game. Benjamin using his big frame to get separation for a huge catch. Two-minute warning and the Lions have no timeouts. Panthers can take a knee.
Stewart hit behind the line of scrimmage again. Lions take their final timeout. As good as the offense has been, the Panthers have just 34 rushing yards today.
Stafford finds Fells again for a touchdown on an out route and it's 27-24. The Patriots nearly came back to beat the Panthers last week and looks like the same thing is happening again. 3:22 left to play. Panthers need a couple of first downs here.
Lions moving the ball and are in the red zone with 3:38 left.
Newton goes down after not finding anything on third and long. Lions use their second timeout and have life with 4:21 left as the Panthers get ready to punt.
A penalty nullifies a Panthers first down and that gives them 11 for the day as a team. Stewart gets stopped in the backfield near the goal line but fights forward to only make it a two-yard loss. Lions take their first timeout with 5:17 left.
Lions get closer on a touchdown pass from Stafford, who hobbles off the field. Darren Fells with the reception and it's 27-17 with 5:48 left.
Make that six sacks for the Panthers. Charles Johnson and Short in on this one.
Panthers offensive tackle Matt Kalil was down for a bit, but is back up and walks off the field slowly.
Captain Munnerlyn gets the fifth sack of the day for the Panthers. Lions punt and Panthers get the ball back with 12:10 to play needing to run some clock.
Shaq Thompson with a sack after the Lions move into Panthers territory. 3rd and 18 coming up after a incompletion. Stafford has been sacked four times today.
Gano with his first miss of the season on a 55-yard try. The ball appeared to be snapped after the play clock expired but the play stands. Lions have 14:08 to try and pull off a comeback down 27-10.
After a couple of pedestrian efforts in Weeks 2 and 3, the Panthers are looking more and more like an NFC South contender. They'll be alone in first place if they can secure this win with the Falcons on a bye week.
END THIRD QUARTER: PANTHERS 27, LIONS 10
Peppers with another big play on fourth and short. Peppers gets through the line of scrimmage and stops Zenner four yards deep on fourth and 1. That may seal this one the way the Panthers are playing!
Ameer Abdullah gets a first down for the Lions, their first of the half. Detroit has the ball at its own 40.
Panthers with a rare punt today on fourth and 2. It goes into the end zone and Lions get it at the 25. Detroit's offense has been stagnant since Zenner's touchdown in the second quarter. 5:59 left in the third quarter.
Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers comes up with a big sack on third down to force fourth down. It's Peppers' 149th career sack.
Gano is still perfect on field goals this season as he hits a 44-yarder and it's 27-10.
Stafford is sacked by Kawann Short and fumbles with Thomas Davis recovering the ball. Panthers can take control with points here as they take over at the Detroit 23. Panthers with 322 yards of offense to 102 yards for the Lions.
Cam is on fire today.
After that TD pass, Cam has a perfect passer rating of 158.3— Joe Person (@josephperson) October 8, 2017
Newton finds Benjamin for a long touchdown throw to hit Benjamin in stride. That ball was placed perfectly with Benjamin having a step on the coverage. Extra point is good and Panthers in control up 24-10 early in the third quarter. Newton eclipses 300 yards passing (19 of 22, 305 yards, 3 TDs) Benjamin with his first touchdown catch of the season.
There's Ed Dickson again for a 23-yard catch. 175 yards receiving, a career high. Panthers driving again.
Funchess is down after landing hard on his shoulder on a out route.
Panthers get the ball back to start the half and Newton picks up a first down on third and four with a scramble up the middle.
Here's a gallery of first-half action:
HALFTIME: Panthers 17, Lions 10
The Panthers did a nice job of overcoming some costly penalties in the first quarter and Newton continues to shine and be very accurate with his throws. Dickson, Funchess and Newton all starred in the first half with McCaffrey getting his first touchdown. On defense, Carolina is still struggling to force turnovers, but they haven't turned it over yet to keep the margin even. Stafford has been held in check, completing nine of 16 passes for 71 yards.
Funchess catches a bullet from Newton in the back of the end zone on third down. Newton throws a laser where only Funchess could grab it and it's 17-10 Panthers with 48 seconds left in the half. Funchess came back to the middle of the field after running his route and called for the ball.
Stewart with a great job of evading tackles and fighting for yards. 21-yard catch and run and the Panthers are at the Detroit 13. Panthers take a timeout with 1:06 left and a first down.
Devin Funchess fights his way for a first down on 3rd and seven. Two-minute warning and the Panthers are looking to score before halftime. Newton now 12 of 13 passing for 204 yards in another stellar effort, this week against a respected defense.
Dickson continues to have a great game with another catch to give him 152 yards receiving.
Stafford misfires to Golden Tate on third and 3 and Lions will punt. 5:05 left in the half. Stafford had Tate open for a first down. Lions punt away from McCaffrey and the Panthers get the ball back.
Newton sacked for the first time today to end the drive. Lions got a great push and veteran Haloti Ngata gets the sack. Lions take over at their own 38.
Newton is 7-for-8 passing for 173 yards for a touchdown, continuing his good play from last week.
Lions go three and out after a costly penalty of their own. Kuechly with good pass coverage on Theo Riddick to force the incompletion. Panthers getting the ball back with 9:06 left in the first half.
Ed Dickson is the first Panthers TE not named Greg Olsen with 100+ receiving yards in a game since Wesley Walls in Week 6, 2000 vs Seahawks— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) October 8, 2017
Rookie Christian McCaffrey with his first NFL touchdown on a shovel pass. Nice play design and we're tied at 10. 11:04 left in the half. A huge response drive there by the Panthers to tie it up after some mental gaffes on defense.
Newton finds Dickson on a bootleg on another huge play, a 57-yard connection. Good play call by offensive coordinator Mike Shula. First and goal at the Detroit 9-yard line.
Now 7 penalties for 78 yards for Carolina. Zach Zenner runs it off tackle and into the end zone to put the Lions up 10-3. 13:32 left in the half.
Face mask penalty on Kuechly gives Lions first and goal at the 4. Costly penalties continue to haunt the Panthers today.
END FIRST QUARTER: PANTHERS 3, LIONS 3
Theo Riddick with a nasty stiff arm to get Luke Kuechly off him and runs to the Carolina 20 for a 21-yard catch and run. That's the end of the first quarter with the Lions threatening.
Panthers have 104 total yards to Detroit's 31 so far. Lions start at their own 25.
Jonathan Stewart and Newton get stuffed on runs and a pass to Kelvin Benjamin is broken up. Graham Gano hits a field goal and we're tied at 3. Lions with a big defensive stand after the Panthers were sitting pretty with first and goal at the 3. 3-3 with 3:51 left in the quarter. Gano has hit all 11 field goals he's attempted this season.
Newton finds Dickson again for a huge play that sets up first and goal. Dickson's longest career reception goes for 64 yards.
Another blown opportunity for the Lions on a dropped pass by Golden Tate that would have been good for a first down. Both teams shooting themselves in the foot here in the first quarter. Lions with drops and Panthers with penalties (4 for 60 yards). Panthers take over at their own 36. 6:52 left in the first quarter.
An necessary roughness penalty puts the Panthers at 2nd and 25. A 23-yard catch by Ed Dickson and a scramble by Newton gives the Panthers a temporary first down, but a holding penalty negates it. 60 yards in penalties are killing the Panthers here early as they punt it away.
Greensboro native Eric Ebron drops a pass in the end zone that would have been a touchdown. Linebacker Shaq Thompson may have deflected the pass. Matt Prater's 30-yard field goal is good. It's 3-0 Lions. Big stop by the Panthers defense after a costly penalty put the Lions in scoring position.
Stafford completes his first three passes and the Lions get a defensive pass interference penalty on Daryl Worley to get the ball inside the red zone.
Panthers kick off to Detroit to start the game. Lions taking over at their own 25-yard line. Matthew Stafford making his 101st consecutive start.
Newton seen with 'Pray for Vegas' on his cleats in response to the shooting that killed 59 at a music festival last weekend.
Cam Newton Makes his way to the Panthers' locker room before the game:
Here's the projected starting lineup for today's game:
The Lions have forced 11 turnovers, which is tied for first in the league. They've forced seven interceptions, which could be a problem for Cam Newton. The Panthers haven't had the same luck with turnovers as they haven't forced one in three games.
The Panthers haven't played in Detroit since 2011, Newton's rookie year. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw five touchdowns to give Detroit a 49-35 win. Carolina blew a 24-7 lead it held in the second quarter.
Stafford has thrown 137 straight passes without an interception. He has a 7-1 touchdown:interception ratio so far this season.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had his best game of the season last week in New England, throwing for 316 yards after completing 22 of 29 passes.
Carolina Panthers Vs. New England Patriots
Sunday, Oct. 1, 1 p.m.
Last Week: Panthers lost to Saints 34-13, Panthers beat Texans 36-33
In the win, Jonathan Stewart became the Panthers all-time leading rusher after running 68 yards Sunday. Cam Newton also became the Panthers' winningest quarterback in franchise history.
#Panthers QB Cam Newton scores his 50th career rushing touchdown. 50 rushing touchdowns are the 2nd most in NFL since 2011. (M. Lynch 52)— Panthers PR Dept. (@PanthersPR) October 1, 2017
A 48-yard field goal by Graham Gano is good! The Panthers win 33-30, fighting off a huge comeback effort by the Patriots.
Funchess gets a huge first down and has to be helped off the field. Panthers have the ball at the NE 41 with 47 seconds left. A hold on Patrick Chung gives the Panthers another first down.
Newton sacked, but it's nullified after another illegal hands to the face penalty on Gilmore. First down Panthers with 2:13 left. A massive 15-yard run by Stewart gives the Panthers a shot in the arm going into the 2-minute warning.
Hogan drops a possible TD catch and it's fourth and goal for New England from the 1. On fourth down, Brady finds Danny Amendola in the back of the end zone and the Patriots have completed another comeback as it's 30-30 with 3:09 left.
Pats get the ball back on a short field. Now have the ball in the red zone at the Panthers 20 with around six minutes to play.
Patriots get a crucial touchdown drive as Lewis scores from eight yards out. It's 30-23 with 8:46 left. Can the Panthers come up with another scoring drive?
Brady finds Gronk for a pivotal first down and the Patriots are still alive. 9:30 left in the game.
Cam bulls his way into the end zone from eight yards out. Gano hits the extra point and it's 30-16. A rare time where the visiting team is dominating in Foxborough. Newton is carving up the Patriots' secondary and getting pressure on Brady consistently.
Panthers convert a third and four on a big pass from Newton to Benjamin. Cam having a great day after a poor game last week.
END THIRD QUARTER: PANTHERS 23, PATRIOTS 16
Patriots go 3 and out after Brady overthrew Brandin Cooks. Pressure from Kawann Short forced an off-target throw. Panthers can add to their lead late in the third quarter.
Newton has been great since throwing the interception.
Since his INT in 1Q, Cam Newton is 16-of-17 for 211 yards and 3 TDs.— Joe Person (@josephperson) October 1, 2017
Devin Funchess with a touchdown catch on good route over the middle against Malcolm Butler and the Panthers now up 23-16 after a missed extra point. 2:47 left in the third quarter. This has been the best the Panthers have looked on offense all season.
Cam with another big third down run on first down when a hole opened up through the middle. McCaffrey with a big block at the second level.
Panthers with another cohesive drive going here and a illegal use of hands penalty on Stephon Gilmore keeps it alive on third down.
37-year-old Peppers with another sack of 40-year-old Brady on third down. Big stop by the Panthers defense there.
A huge turnover forced by New England gives the Pats the ball back as Stewart fumbles. Patriots will take over inside their 20. Panthers have had several great plays on offense, but they're losing the turnover battle 2-0.
Damiere Byrd will not return. Forearm.— Joe Person (@josephperson) October 1, 2017
Panthers cutting through the NE defense the last two drive. A 14-yard run by Jonathan Stewart puts the Panthers in the red zone.
10 straight completions for Newton as he finds Dickson for 24 yards. Panthers at the NE 40.
The Patriots trail at halftime for the first time all season. Newton was solid in the first half, was 11 of 13 passing for 189 yards and two touchdowns, completing his last eight passes. Defensively, it was a good first-half effort by Kuechly.
Luke Kuechly 10 first-half tackles, incl nine solo.— Joe Person (@josephperson) October 1, 2017
Good at football.
HALFTIME: Panthers 17, Patriots 16
A career-long 58-yard field goal by Gostowski makes it 17-16 at halftime. Big response by New England, but the Panthers looked good passing for the most part with the exception of the interception.
Touchdown Devin Funchess! Newton found Funchess open in the end zone as the Panthers made those last few plays look easy. 17-13 Panthers with 26 seconds left in the half.
Panthers' Kelvin Benjamin with a huge catch and run and Panthers have the ball inside the red zone at the 14! A busted coverage by New England left Benjamin open on an out route.
Two-minute warning: Panthers with the ball at their own 42-yard line.
Devin Funchess with a big catch and spun out of a tackle to get the first down. Panthers with the ball at their own 31 now.
Mike Adams almost got an interception on a throw to the end zone for the Panthers. A 35-yard field goal attempt by Gostowski is good and Pats up 13-10 with 4:30 left.
Brady finds Gronkowski for a big gain. Gronk got behind a zone defense and the Pats are in the red zone after a 43-yard play. Defensive end Mario Addison walking off the field very slowly. Kurt Coleman has been ruled out for the rest of the game.
Julius Peppers sacks Brady for 3.5 sacks this year.
Fozzy Whittaker with a 28-yard touchdown run on a screen pass. Newton did a good job of faking the screen to one side and then opting for Fozzy on the opposite side. Wittaker was open and had blockers in front of him. It's 10-10 with 9:41 left in the half. A huge response the Panthers needed.
CAM ➡️ FOZZY!!! pic.twitter.com/p04I75r2Qs— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) October 1, 2017
McCaffrey with another short catch and run for an 11-yard gain. First down as the Panthers are at the NE 40.
Panthers rookie Christian McCaffrey with his first catch and piles over the defense for a first down.
Brady finds Chris Hogan in the back of the end zone to give New England the lead. That was a laser thrown by Brady and on target. 10-3 Patriots with 12:39 left in the half.
A screen pass to Dion Lewis gets NE inside the 10. Gillislee gives Pats first and goal inside the 5. Brady is 11 for 14 throwing so far for 87 yards as the Panthers are struggling to stop an elite quarterback for the second straight week. Kurt Coleman was injured during the play.
An offensive pass interference call on Rob Gronkowski is followed by a defensive pass interference call against Mike Adams and the Patriots are inside the red zone at the Carolina 19.
END FIRST QUARTER: PANTHERS 3, PATRIOTS 3
Linebacker Luke Kuechly with a nice tackle on a Mike Gillislee run for no gain. James White gets a first down on a four-yard catch out of the backfield for the Pats, now at the Carolina 46.
Newton goes deep for Damiere Byrd and is picked off by Malcolm Butler. Not good for the Panthers and Newton, who has now thrown four interceptions in the last two games. Pats take over at their own 26. Byrd was double covered.
The Panthers' twitter account tweets Julius Peppers is OK.
He's ok. pic.twitter.com/Q0PJyOnUtr— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) October 1, 2017
An offensive pass interference call on New England wipes out a first down. Chris Hogan was trying to clear out space for Rob Gronkowski. Brady sacked for the first time today and Patriots will have to punt. Panthers take over at their own 36 with 4:27 left in the first quarter.
Protection breaks down and Cam Newton gains four yards. No one was open for Carolina on the play. A Graham Gano field goal is good and we're tied at 3 with 7:41 left in the first quarter.
Dickson has two catches for 38 yards, a good sign. Panthers inside the red zone on a good first possession so far.
Newton fires a nice pass to Devin Funchess on his first throw of the game. Ed Dickson gets a first down after a quiet game last week. Panthers in Pats' territory.
A Stephen Gostkowski 41-yard field goal attempt is good. 3-0 Pats after Brady completed his first four passes. Patriots have scored a touchdown on their first drive of all three of their previous games.
Panthers force 3rd and 10 after a couple of incompletions by Brady. An 8-yard-pass to Kevin Hogan will bring the special teams unit out. Julius Peppers, a 9-time pro bowl choice, is down after the play.
They’re looking at Peppers’ right leg. But he gets up and jogs off.— Bill Voth (@PanthersBill) October 1, 2017
Patriots get the ball first and Tom Brady's first four passes are complete. Pats are in Panthers territory already just four plays in.
All Panthers stood during anthem. Jonathan Stewart joined Thomas Davis in prayer during anthem.— Joe Person (@josephperson) October 1, 2017
Here's some pregame pictures to get you ready for action:
The Panthers' defensive prowess took a hit last week when it gave up 34 points to Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. Meanwhile, the Patriots' defense slid to last in the league after allowing 33 points to Houston. The Patriots have allowed 461 yards and 31.7 points per game, the most in the NFL.
A late drive gave the Patriots the win as they moved to 2-1. The Panthers will need the same defensive effort they got in their first two games against San Francisco and Buffalo although that'll be a tall order against the Patriots, who lead the league in total offense.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is the only quarterback in the league to have thrown for over 1,000 yards through three games. Brady also has been sacked 10 times this season. Last season, Brady was sacked 15 times in 12 games.
Cornerback Daryl Worley isn't expected to play today, leaving 23-year-old Kevon Seymour as the starter. Seymour has played just one defensive snap this season after coming over from Buffalo.
New Orleans Saints Vs. Carolina Panthers
Bank of America Stadium
Sunday, Sept. 24, 1 p.m.
Last Week: Panthers beat Bills 9-3, Saints lost to the Patriots 36-20
FINAL: New Orleans Saints 34, Carolina Panthers 13
Panthers coach Ron Rivera on what he told his team about standing for the national anthem:
Brees finishes his day completing 22 of 29 passes for 220 yards for three touchdowns.
Backup quarterback Derek Anderson now in for Newton. Newton finishes his day 17 of 28 passing with three interceptions and one rushing touchdown.
Alvin Kamara scores on a 25-yard touchdown run and New Orleans leads 34-13. Today wasn't the Panthers defense we saw in the first two games. Big plays all over the field for the Saints.
Newton forces the ball over the middle again and Kenny McCaro gets the interception that may seal the game. Newton's third interception of the day.
McCaffrey with his ninth catch of the day and the Panthers are trying to make it a one-score game. Newton gets sacked for the fourth time and Carolina's in a hole again facing third and 16.
After Adrian Peterson is stopped on third and short, Wil Lutz's 56-yard field goal try is no good and it stays 27-13 with 8:57 left.
Pass into traffic from Newton is deflected and a one-handed interception is made by Marcus Williams. Replay shows Newton missed an open receiver on a crossing route. Saints take over with 11 minutes left looking to drain clock.
Captain Munnerlyn makes a nice tackle on a quick pass to force a field goal. The Saints hit a 53-yard field goal and it's back to a two-touchdown lead. 27-13 with 11:57 left to play.
Davis is back in the game and helps bring down Mark Ingram on a first-down run. The Saints' running game has been effective all day.
END 3RD QUARTER Saints 24, Panthers 13
Brees finds his favorite target in Michael Thomas along the sideline for a 26-yard pass to put the Saints in Carolina territory at the 45.
Newton keeps it for a 3-yard touchdown run, the 49th rushing touchdown of his career. Gano's extra point makes it 24-13 to give Carolina a pulse with 1:26 left in the quarter.
A 21-yard connection from Newton to Funchess puts the Panthers in the red zone. Newton finds McCaffrey for his fourth completion of the drive and Panthers have first and goal from the 3.
McCaffrey with the kind of play the Panthers needed with a diving catch along the sideline. He ran inside the 5 after falling down, but it looks like he was touchdowns and the Panthers will get the ball at the Saints 35. Smart play to keep running.
That kind of day for the Panthers. They force the Saints first three and out, but linebacker Luke Kuechly dropped a possible interception on a rare mistake by Brees. Panthers get the ball back with 5:29 left in the quarter.
After forcing a 3 & out, the @Panthers have to get into the endzone with the clock slowly running out. 5:20 left in the 3rd down 24-6— Luke Lyddon (@Luke_Lyddon) September 24, 2017
A sack and an incomplete pass on a deep throw down the sideline force third and long and the Panthers can't get out of jail. Panthers have to punt.
Panthers need points on this drive to get back in the game. Stewart picks up a first down on a 6-yard run. McCaffrey gets back in the mix with another first-down catch.
Ted Ginn Jr. hauls in a 40-yard touchdown pass and the Saints have officially taken control of the game. Panthers fans remember seeing Ginn and his speed get behind the secondary and that's what happened there. Brees with a very accurate throw and New Orleans is firing on all cylinders. 24-6 Saints with 11:09 left in the third quarter after a 8-play, 75-yard drive to open the half.
Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis is now heading off to the locker room. His return is questionable.
Thomas Davis (ribs) return questionable.— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) September 24, 2017
Panthers receiver Kelvin Benjamin will not return to the game.
The Panthers' defense was celebrated in the first two games, but the Saints have been able to move the ball without much resistance. NO has 105 yards passing and 71 yards on the ground along with no penalties in what was probably their best half so far this year. Brees has completed 12 of 17 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
Here's a look at the first half in photos:
HALF: New Orleans 17, Carolina 6
A tackle for loss and a Mario Addison sack knock the Saints back and force a field goal attempt. Big stop after the Saints had first and goal at the 3. A 33-yard field goal attempt is good and the Saints lead it 17-6 going into halftime.
Now New Orleans moving the ball on the ground. Mark Ingram 8-yard-run and Alvin Kamara gets the Saints inside the red zone with a 12-yard burst. Two-minute warning and Panthers in jeopardy of falling behind two scores by halftime.
Saints' passing game still working as Brees finds a receiver for a 13-yard catch. Saints in Panthers territory again at the Carolina 41.
No gain by Jonathan Stewart, an incomplete pass, and an overthrown pass to Devin Funchess equal a three and out by the Panthers. Newton now has thrown four straight incompletions after converting his first six passes. Stewart has 51 yards rushing on 11 carries. McCaffrey is Carolina's leading receiver with 15 yards receiving on three receptions.
A quick pass to Thomas gives him his sixth reception and a big first down for the Saints at the Panthers 11. One play later, the Panthers bite on the play action and Brees finds Brandon Coleman behind the defense for another touchdown. Williams' interception sets up New Orleans' second touchdown of the day and it's 14-6 with 5:42 left in the first half.
Newton throws an interception and PJ Williams gets his first career interception. Panthers have to hold the Saints out of the end zone here.
Kelvin Benjamin is questionable to return and now guard Trai Turner is down for the Panthers after their first down play.
Panthers catch a huge break when former Panther Ted Ginn was open on a deep route for a surefire touchdown pass, but was overthrown. Saints will punt from midfield. Panthers take over from their own 11 with 9:03 left in the half.
A bubble screen pass to Samuel on third and 6 is snuffed out by the Saints and the Panthers come out for a field goal attempt. Another Graham Gano field goal and it's 7-6. 10:46 left in the first half.
Nice run by Curtis Samuel on an end around, a 34-yard run. Panthers in business again at the Saints 37.
Kelvin Benjamin, who went down last week after a hard hit, is being helped off the field after being tackled from behind. Looks like his leg bent awkwardly there.
Thomas with another catch, this time for a touchdown after a physical battle with Panthers cornerback Daryl Worley. Looks like he may have gotten away with a push off in the end zone, but Saints score the first touchdown and it's 7-3 New Orleans. Panthers allow their first touchdown of the season. Thomas already has five catches for 50 yards.
Thomas with his fourth catch already and he has all of Brees' completions. Saints have first and goal inside the five.
Quarterback Drew Brees gets the Saints in Panthers territory on a 16-yard pass to Michael Thomas over the middle. First down Saints.
Cam Newton sacked on third and 3, ending a otherwise productive drive to start the game. Graham Gano with another field goal and he's 7-of-7 to start the season. The red zone struggles continue but it's 3-0 Panthers.
Stewart and McCaffrey getting whatever they want. The Panthers get their 4th first down already. Panthers at the Saints 25 going with a heavy dose of the run and a couple quick-hitting short passes.
Christian McCaffrey getting the ball a lot so far as the Panthers are moving the ball downfield. McCaffrey has two catches and a carry already. Jonathan Stewart also has three carries as the Panthers are at the Saints 31-yard line.
NOTES: Sunday's game is the 45th meeting between the teams, the most that the Panthers have played anyone. Carolina holds a 24-20 edge in the all-time series.
Carolina ranks first in the league in total defense and scoring defense and they haven't allowed a touchdown through two games for the first time in franchise history. The last team to hold their opponents scoreless through two games was the 2010 Baltimore Ravens.
The Saints are in desperate need of a win at 0-2 after dropping their first two games against Minnesota and New England. The Panthers won ugly last week against Buffalo as they didn't score a touchdown but got three Graham Gano field goals as he stands at 6-for-6 on the season.
Greg Olsen's foot injury from last week's game means this is the first game since Cam Newton was the starting quarterback that Olsen won't be available to throw to.
Make sure you're following WFMY's Brian Hall (@Bhallwfmy) and Luke Lyddon (@Luke_Lyddon), who are are live in Charlotte today bringing the latest on the game.
All eyes will be on players during the national anthem today to see whether protests will be shown towards President Donald Trump's controversial comments toward NFL players who have kneeled for the anthem in the past. Jacksonville Jaguars players locked arms during the anthem before their game against Baltimore in London. The Pittsburgh Steelers aren't participating in the anthem and coach Mike Tomlin says his team will stay in the locker room during the rendition in Chicago.
A large group of Saints players were seen sitting on the bench as the national anthem was sung. All Carolina players appeared to be standing.
Here's a gallery of some of the pregame festivities:
Buffalo Bills Vs. Carolina Panthers
Bank of America Stadium
Sunday, Sept. 17, 1 p.m.
TV: WFMY News 2
Last Week: Panthers beat 49ers 23-3, Bills beat the New York Jets 21-12
Both the Panthers and Bills enter Sunday's clash 1-0 after Week 1 victories. Cam Newton threw two touchdown passes and got help from a 116-yard rushing performance at San Francisco.
Carolina has beaten Buffalo just once in a 13-9 triumph in 2005. The Bills lead the all-time series 5-1.
Tough break for Greg Olsen, who told media he broke his foot after the game. He's out indefinitely.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera chimes in during the postgame press conference.
FINAL: Panthers 9, Bills 3
Wow, Bills fail to convert after a drop by a wide open receiver near the goal line. Ball was overthrown slightly. Bottom line, Panthers win!
Bills face fourth and long with 14 seconds left. Panthers on the verge of moving to 2-0 if they get one more stop. Defense has played great all day.
An offensive pass interference penalty on Buffalo is huge. Panthers get a break and Bills face 1st and 20 with 53 seconds left.
Bills get the first down on third and 1 and are at the Panthers 32 with 1:01 left.
Bills get the ball back with 2:35 left down 9-3. Bills get the ball to their own 37 at the two-minute warning.
Panthers can't capitalize on a golden opportunity to put the game out of reach but they get another Gano field goal and lead 9-3 with 2:35 left. Newton overthrew McCaffrey on a play that could have sealed the game.
A pass interference call on Buffalo and Carolina has first and goal at the 1.
Stewart with a big first-down pickup. Panthers eating clock on this drive at the Bills 22. Another big catch by Benjamin and Panthers have first and goal. Huge opportunity here.
Newton finds Benjamin over the middle for an 18-yard pickup. First down at the Bills 34.
Cam Newton is back in on this possession. Greg Olsen still on the bench.
Bills decide to kick a 45-yard field goal on 4th and 3 and it goes in off the upright. Panthers lead cut in half at 6-3 with just over 11 minutes to play.
Tyrod Taylor to Jordan Matthews over the middle picks up the first down on 3rd and 13. Bills in Panthers territory.
End of the third quarter, still 6-0 Panthers. A lot of punts, two Graham Gano field goals the difference. Panthers (30:10) have had possession over twice as long as the Bills (14:50).
Cam Newton is down after another sack, not a good sight for Panthers fans.
McCaffrey makes a nice catch on third down. He ran a wheel route and Newton made a good throw to catch in stride.
The Panthers bring the blitz on third down and cornerback James Bradberry forces an incompletion as the Bills punt it again. Panthers getting the ball at their own 17. Bills are 2 of 9 on third down today and have just 94 yards of total offense. Neither offense able to do much of anything today as it's a defensive struggle.
A 15-yard completion to Jordan Matthews is Tyrod Taylor's longest pass of the day. First down Buffalo at the 31.
On the ensuing drive, a Panthers delay of game causes a third and 17. Newton stays up long enough to find an open Ed Dixon, but overthrows him on one of his few inaccurate throws of the day. Bills will get the ball back.
Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers comes up with a big sack to force fourth down. Panthers defense keeps up a great performance.
The Panthers punt after a three-and-out. Carolina having a hard time getting the running game going as Christian McCaffrey has 8 yards on six carries. Jonathan Stewart has 28 yards on 10 carries.
Greg Olsen will not return.
The Bills get to Newton for a sack and that stalls the last drive of the first half for the Panthers. They lead 6-0 at halftime. Buffalo stud running back LeSean McCoy has three carries for no yards.
Penalties back the Bills up inside their own 10 and they fail to get a first down again. Buffalo will likely go the entire half earning just one first down. Great performance by the Carolina defense. Panthers get the ball back with 1:30 left at their own 38.
Mario Addison with the Panthers first sack and we're at the two-minute warning.
A third and goal pass is knocked away by Poyer again. Gano comes on and hits a 28-yard-field goal and it's 6-0 with 2:02 left in the half. Bills are lucky to be down by one score.
Newton looks good throwing the ball this drive, with a couple of big completions to get the Panthers inside the 10.
A holding penalty nullifies a nice pass from Newton that would have given Carolina a first down deep in Bills territory.
Newton finds Benjamin on a third and four for five yards on a quick slant. Benjamin now has four catches for 43 yards. Panthers have the ball at the Buffalo 35.
Panthers force a punt and the Bills still haven't run a play in Carolina territory. Panthers start at their own 44 after the punt. Carolina up 3-0 with 8:53 left but it feels like it should be a bigger lead.
Tyrod Taylor eludes pressure and runs for a first down, the Bills first of the game.
Looks like Greg Olsen is heading to the locker room with a foot injury. His returns is reported as probable.
INJURY UPDATE: Greg Olsen's return is probable. Right foot injury. @WFMY— Patrick Wright (@ptwright) September 17, 2017
And another sack to knock the Panthers out of field goal range. Two huge plays by the Bills defense after it looked the Panthers were about to go up two scores. A good punt and the Bills have to start at their own 2 with 12:01 left to play in the half.
Newton with another nice throw over the middle to Funchess. Two plays later, the Bills get to Newton for their first sack to force third and long.
Newton finds Benjamin for a 13-yard catch at the end of the first quarter. Panthers up 3-0 and controlling the flow of the game so far. Bills don't have a first down and just 26 yards of offense.
Bills go three and out again and will have to come out on defense again. Luke Kuechly made the stop on a Tyrod Taylor Scramble. Panthers take over at own 40-yard line after a punt.
Panthers had possession for 11:29 of the first quarter so far, a huge advantage over the 1:06 for Buffalo.
Panthers come up short on third down as Kyle Williams stops McCaffrey on third and three. Panthers punting for the first time and the Bills take over at their own 10-yard line.
Newton with another run for a first down after being pressured out of the pocket. The Bills are blitzing Newton, but allowing him to get out of the pocket and improvise, which is what he's best at.
Newton Finds Devin Funchess for another first down. 15 yard pass. Panthers at their own 36.
Cam Newton has 27 yards passing and 15 yards rushing after one drive. Panthers will take the ball at their own 14-yard line.
Bills start at their own 25 and go three and out.,A Tyrod Taylor pass to Andre Holmes is complete but short of the first down marker and Buffalo punts.
Newton avoids another sack, scrambles and throws the ball away to force a field goal attempt. Jerry Hughes on the pressure for the Bills. Graham Gano hits a 34-yard field goal and Carolina is up 3-0 after its first drive.
Panthers receiver Kelvin Benjamin is slow to get up after going up high across the middle and being hit by Bills safety Jordan Poyer. Throw was in the end zone and between two defenders. Looks like Poyer hit Benjmain right on the arm with his helmet. Third and six coming up.
Christian McCaffrey gets six yards on a run up the middle for his first run of the game. Stewart gets a first down on a 5-yard run and the Panthers are in the red zone at the Buffalo 20 with a 1st down.
Newton with a great run after nearly being sacked on 3rd-and-7. Newton avoided a sack and then shook a defender along the sideline during a 15-yard run. 1st down Panthers at the Buffalo 31 yard-line as Carolina looks to enter the red zone.
Greg Olsen was wide open on a 10-yard-catch for another first down. Bills almost get an interception on a Jordan Poyer deflection on the next play.
1:05 - The Panthers get the ball first on a great day for football and get a first down on third and long on a 17-yard catch by Kelvin Benjamin.
12:55 - The Panthers come out onto the field!
Here's a collection of photos from pregame warmups.
11:45 a.m. -
10:50 a.m. - WFMY News 2 photographer/producer Brian Hall is already at the stadium!