2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Bills' Manuel, Williams deliver to beat Panthers

By JOHN WAWROW - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-16 02:46

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel provided the Bills an encouraging glimpse into their future. And defensive end Mario Williams is starting to feel comfortable in Buffalo.

In his second season since signing a $100 million contract, Williams finally began playing up to his high-priced promise by leading the Bills' new-look defense with a franchise-best and career-high 4 1/2 sacks. Manuel, the rookie first-round draft pick, then capped a 24-23 win over the Carolina Panthers by hitting Stevie Johnson for a 2-yard touchdown pass with 2 seconds remaining.

``It boosts our morale,'' Williams said of a team that was still stinging a week after giving up a last-second field goal in a 23-21 season-opening loss to New England. ``It shows that we can believe in each other, take care of our business.''

It was a significant win for a team coming off a near top-to-bottom offseason transition, which included the hiring of rookie coach Doug Marrone.

For Carolina, the outcome proved all too familiar for a team that continues to have difficulty winning close games. Coming off a season-opening 12-7 loss to Seattle, the Panthers dropped to 2-14 in games decided by 7 points or fewer since coach Ron Rivera took over in 2011.

``This isn't about learning any hard lessons,'' Carolina receiver Steve Smith said. ``This is like going to the dentist and getting several teeth pulled without any anesthesia, laughing gas, nothing. It's tough, and it's sickening.''

Here's five things that stood out:

1. ELECTRIC EJ: Shrugging off a pair of second-half turnovers, Manuel completed 6 of 8 passes for 51 yards in marching Buffalo 80 yards in 96 seconds on the decisive drive.

Manuel got help from a pass-interference penalty against linebacker Luke Kuechly that came two plays before Johnson's touchdown. Yet, Manuel showed no signs of fear in throwing over the middle despite the Bills having used up their time outs.

In finishing 27 of 39 for 296 yards passing, Manuel became the NFL's fifth rookie quarterback since 1960 to win a game when trailing in the fourth quarter.

Best of all, the comeback occurred with his father, Eric Sr., celebrating his birthday.

Guess who's getting a game ball as a present?

``I didn't have a gift. My dad's not big on gifts,'' Manuel said. ``But I know he'll definitely want to take this home.''

2. PANTHERS LACK FINISH: Carolina squandered a chance to break the game open by settling for field goals by Graham Gano on three consecutive fourth-quarter drives.

Quarterback Cam Newton threw an incompletion on third-and-goal from the 9, which led to Gano's 27-yard chip shot. Williams was credited with a sack to end the next threat at the Bills 7, before Gano hit a 25-yard field goal.

Newton then marched Carolina 59 yards over 5:35 to set up Gano's 39-yard field goal with 1:38 remaining.

``It killed us. That was the difference in the game,'' said tight end Greg Olsen, who had seven catches for 84 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown. ``We just didn't finish.''

3. SACK ATTACK: Williams' career-day came in his 100th career game. He broke the team record of four sacks set three previous times, once by Cornelius Bennett in 1987, and twice by Bruce Smith (1990 and `94).

The 4 1/2 sacks were the most since San Francisco's Aldon Smith had 5 1/2 against Chicago last Nov. 19. Williams has 6 1/2 sacks this season after he managed 10 1/2 last year.

The Bills finished with six sacks, their most since getting 10 in a 23-0 win over Washington on Oct. 30, 2011.

4. DEPLETED AT DB: Carolina lost both starting safeties to injury after Charles Godfrey (right Achilles tendon) and Quintin Mikell (right ankle) were hurt in the second half.

Starting cornerback Josh Thomas did not return after sustaining a concussion in the first quarter while making a helmet-to-helmet tackle on receiver Robert Woods.

5. C.J. AND STEVIE BOUNCE BACK: A week after being criticized for dropping an easy third-down pass, Johnson bounced back with eight catches for 111 yards, including a touchdown. Running back C.J. Spiller had a solid outing with 16 carries for 103 yards. That included a 46-yard run, which was 5 yards more than he combined for against New England.

It came against a Carolina defense that allowed an average 57 yards rushing in its previous five games.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Dwayne AllenNov 23 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) is inactive Sunday, Nov. 23, for Week 12.

Trent WilliamsNov 23 12:32p

Washington Redskins OT Trent Williams (ankle, knee) is not expected to play in Week 12 because of his injuries.

Danny LansanahNov 23 12:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Danny Lansanah is moving from strongside linebacker to weakside linebacker in place of LB Lavonte David (hamstring). LB Orie Lemon will start at strongside linebacker.

Greg JenningsNov 23 11:52a

Minnesota Vikings WR Greg Jennings (rib) is active for the team's Week 12 game.

Blidi Wreh-WilsonNov 23 11:52a

The Tennessee Titans have declared CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, QB Charlie Whitehurst, WR Kris Durham, CB Marqueston Huff, TE Richard Gordon, DL Ropati Pitoitua, OT Will Svitek inactive for Week 12.

Arian FosterNov 23 11:42a

The Houston Texans have declared RB Arian Foster, WR DeVier Posey, OT Jeff Adams, S Josh Aubrey, CB Kareem Jackson, LB Max Bullough, QB Tom Savage inactive for Week 12.

Andre BranchNov 23 11:42a

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, LB Jeremiah George, WR Mike Brown, OT Sam Young, RB Storm Johnson, CB Teddy Williams, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 12.

Crezdon ButlerNov 23 11:42a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared CB C.J. X. Wilson, CB Crezdon Butler, DL Da'Quan Bowers, OT Kevin Pamphile, LB Lavonte David, RB Mike James, WR Robert Herron inactive for Week 12.

Jordan CameronNov 23 11:42a

The Cleveland Browns have declared TE Jordan Cameron, LB Karlos Dansby, WR Marlon Moore, CB Pierre Desir, DB Robert Nelson, WR Rodney Smith, OT Vinston Painter inactive for Week 12.

Rex BurkheadNov 23 11:42a

The Cincinnati Bengals have declared CB Chris Lewis-Harris, WR Dane Sanzenbacher, WR Greg Little, DL Margus Hunt, RB Rex Burkhead, OT Tanner Hawkinson, LB Vontaze Burfict inactive for Week 12.

Dwayne AllenNov 23 11:42a

The Indianapolis Colts have declared TE Dwayne Allen, OT Gosder Cherilus, CB Greg Toler, DL Kelcy Quarles, C Khaled Holmes, OG Lance Louis, NT Zachariah Kerr inactive for Week 12.

Arian FosterNov 23 11:33a

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) is out Sunday, Nov. 23, for Week 12.

Brandon WattsNov 23 11:32a

The Minnesota Vikings have declared OT Austin Wentworth, LB Brandon Watts, OG David Yankey, RB Matt Asiata, LB Michael Mauti, DL Sharrif Floyd, FB Zach Line inactive for Week 12.

Dennis KellyNov 23 11:32a

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 12.

Josh GordonNov 23 11:22a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will not receive a fine or suspension for pleading guilty to driving under the influence charge in North Carolina, according to a source.

Reggie BushNov 23 11:12a

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Lavonte DavidNov 23 10:52a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Lavonte David (hamstring) will miss the first game of his career Sunday, Nov. 23, as he's out for Week 12.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 23 10:32a

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Julius ThomasNov 23 10:02a

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Ben TateNov 23 09:52a

Minnesota Vikings RB Ben Tate will be active Sunday, Nov. 23, and have a role in Week 12. RB Matt Asiata will be inactive.

Lamar MillerNov 23 09:52a

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller (shoulder, knee) will play Sunday, Nov. 23, according to a source.

Josh GordonNov 23 09:22a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is expected to play 20-30 snaps Sunday, Nov. 23.

Jonas GrayNov 23 09:22a

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Arian FosterNov 22 04:22p

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Josh GordonNov 22 01:32p

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A.J. JenkinsNov 22 12:42p

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