The Bills receive grades for their first win of the season.
Quarterbacks: EJ Manuel didn't have the best start to the game, throwing too many checkdowns and turning the ball over on back-to-back possessions. However, the rookie was locked in on the game-winning drive and looked the part of the field general Buffalo has lacked for so many years. Manuel finished 27-of-39 for 296 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Grade: B
Running backs: C.J. Spiller (16 carries for 103 yards) bounced back from his poor performance against New England and nearly broke several runs for long touchdowns. Fred Jackson (12 carries for 30 yards) didn't have the same success, but picked up some tough yards in short-yardage situations including a touchdown. Fullback Frank Summers caught two passes for 49 yards, but failed to block Quintin Mikell, who stripped the ball from Manuel. Grade: A-
Wide receivers: Stevie Johnson dropped a key pass last week, but he came through big for the Bills on the final drive. He caught the game-winning touchdown and finished with eight receptions for 111 yards. Rookie Robert Woods made a diving catch on the two-point conversion and finished with four receptions for 68 yards. Grade: B+
Offensive line: Manuel was only sacked once and that was the fullback's fault. Carolina has a talented front seven and the line opened up big holes for Spiller. The big guys paved the way for 436 yards of total offense. Grade: A+
Defensive line: Mario Williams' dominant performance showed why the Bills gave him the big contract. The defensive end racked up 4.5 sacks, a franchise record, on Cam Newton and nearly had more. The run defense kept Carolina under 4.0 yards per carry. Grade: A+
Linebackers: Kiko Alonso certainly didn't look like a rookie when he picked off Newton. He added a sack to ice the game and finished with 10 tackles. Arthur Moats continued to excel with eight tackles. Grade: A
Secondary: Safety Aaron Williams recorded a team-high 12 tackles, but committed a dumb unnecessary roughness penalty. Leodis McKelvin drew the tough assignment of covering Steve Smith and held him to five receptions for 52 yards, breaking up three passes. Justin Rogers spent the afternoon getting toasted by Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn, and no one could cover tight end Greg Olsen. Grade: C+
Special teams: Dan Carpenter missed his first field-goal attempt from 42 yards, but connected from 55, 20 and 48 yards. Frank Summer committed a holding penalty on a Carolina punt that allowed the Panthers to keep the ball and eventually score a touchdown. Grade: B-
Coaching: The offense was way too conservative for most of the game, but Nathaniel Hackett called a good set of plays on the winning drive. Mike Pettine's defense held Carolina to field goals three times in the fourth quarter to keep Buffalo in striking distance. Grade: B+
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