ORCHARD PARK, New York (Reuters) - Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel tossed a touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson with two seconds left to play to earn the Buffalo Bills a stunning 24-23 comeback win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
With less than two minutes on the clock, the Panthers up 23-17 and the crowd slowly heading for the exits, Manuel came onto the field and marched the Bills 80 yards in 96 seconds hitting a wide open Johnson with an arching two-yard pass to tie the game.
Dan Carpenter then coolly booted the extra point to clinch the victory, wiping away the disappointment of a last-second loss to the New England Patriots a week earlier.
The only quarterback selected in the first round of this year’s draft, Manuel has quickly become a fan favorite and won over a few more with a poised display, completing 27-of-39 pass attempts for 296 yards.
Johnson was Manuel’s favorite target hauling in eight catches for 111 yards and a touchdown while CJ Spiller had a big afternoon, rushing for 103 yards.
Fred Jackson had the other Buffalo touchdown while Carpenter booted three field goals, including a 55-yarder, as the Bills improved their record to 1-1.
Cam Newton, the NFL’s rookie quarterback sensation in 2011, passed for 229 yards and a pair of touchdowns and an interception as the Panthers slipped to 0-2.
Editing by Gene Cherry