A preseason finale in Charlotte, North Carolina, has been delayed by the wrath of Mother Nature.
The Buffalo Bills and Carolina Panthers were forced to return to their respective locker rooms at Bank of America Stadium while a thunderstorm passed through the city Friday evening. The game, which was scheduled for a 7 p.m. ET start will kick off at 7:36 p.m.
Lightning was detected within the eight-mile radius around Bank of America Stadium, forcing those in attendance to enter a shelter-in-place protocol, which included clearing both the field and the seating bowl. The team tweeted an update stating the shelter-in-place protocol was lifted at 7:13 p.m., which included reopening the stadium's gates.
Carolina is taking the field for the first time since officially naming Baker Mayfield the team's starting quarterback to begin the season. Panthers owner David Tepper spent some of the delay raving about Mayfield's ability and what he brings to the team in 2022 during the extended pregame portion of the local broadcast, underscoring the renewed excitement shared in Charlotte, where the Panthers hope to rebound from a difficult 2021 campaign.
Mayfield will see the field for at least a portion of the first half in Carolina's final tune-up before hosting the quarterback's former team, the Cleveland Browns, in Week 1.
Buffalo has played excellent football to this point and will take a more conservative approach to the Friday night affair, resting most of its notable starters.