Rivera's decision to kick a field goal on fourth-and-1 with 1:42 left in the game came back to haunt this team. Instead of driving a knife into the Bills, the kick put the Panthers up 23-17 and left open the door for Manuel's heroics.
"The thought process was kick the field goal, go up by six and make them go the length (of the field)," Rivera said, "Unfortunately it worked out for them."
Carolina's offense wasn't as bad as last week, when Cam Newton threw just three passes over 10 yards in a 12-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Still, we never saw Cam look like Cam until the Panthers went up-tempo just before halftime. Newton finally looked comfortable and went 7-of-8 passing on a fast-paced drive that resulted in a 13-yard touchdown strike to Greg Olsen.
Two games in, Mike Shula's offense remains stuck in the mud. NFL.com editor David Ely, a long-suffering Panthers fan, wasn't impressed with Sunday's antics:
The Panthers take a 7-3 lead. Mike Shula closes his playbook and leaves the stadium. His work is done for the day.â David Ely (@David_Ely) September 15, 2013
Take heart, Ely. Unless Rivera finds a way to improve his 2-14 mark in games decided by seven points or less, both he and Shula might not be long for Carolina.