CHARLOTTE – With Ron Rivera on one side and Sean McDermott on the other, this Week 2 clash between the Panthers and Bills always had the makings of a physical defensive slugfest.
“I can tell you one thing, that’s totally what we expected,” linebacker
After six seasons as the defensive coordinator in Carolina, McDermott left with a lot of knowledge in hand to become head coach in Buffalo. He helped construct the defense that the Panthers deploy today and went up against
With all that said and understood, everyone knew this would be a grind. And everyone seemingly knew what was coming.
“We expected that with McDermott knowing the offense the way he does for the last six years,” defensive end Charles Johnson said. “You kind of figured it would be a defensive battle.”
Rivera said linebacker
“They are good at what they do,” left tackle
Carolina’s offense moved the ball well at times, but Buffalo’s aggressive front registered six sacks, which stalled drives or pushed the Panthers out of field goal range.
“Their defensive front was very active and created a lot of problems for us,” Rivera said. “It was tough.”
But as tough as it was for the Panthers offensively, it was even tougher for the Bills, who finished with 10 first downs compared to Carolina’s 19.
“I’ll start off by giving their defense credit. They’ve got a talented bunch over there, and we knew it would be tough sledding coming in here for their home opener,” McDermott said. “We got what I thought we would get.”
Again, no surprises, no tricks or gadgets. Just two similarly disruptive defenses dictating the game.
“I personally think (their defense) is a true reflection of what our defense is,” center
Neither team reached the end zone, but three field goals were good enough for victory on this steamy September Sunday. That’s because for the second week in a row, the Panthers allowed just three points.
“If you look at it, we played the best defense in the league,” Bills running back Mike Tolbert said.
It’s too early to know for sure, but the Panthers just might prove their former teammate right.