CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers are back in town for their third and final preseason game before the 2022 season officially kicks off, and they pounced on a win at Bank of America Stadium.
Friday night's game, delayed for more than 30 minutes because of lightning, saw the Panthers take on the Buffalo Bills in their second game since Baker Mayfield was named starting quarterback for Carolina. It also came days after rookie quarterback Matt Corral saw his season end. The former Ole Miss star was placed on the injury reserve list after suffering a foot injury during the Panthers' second preseason game when the team faced off against New England on the road.
Mayfield delivered with two touchdowns and 9 of 15 passes completed. D'Onta Foreman took a 2-yard pass from Mayfield, while the QB1 gave Shi Smith a 19-yard strike.
Two of Carolina's four possessions had Mayfield at the helm. Sam Darnold, the second string for the Panthers, ran the ball in for their third touchdown. However, Darnold left on a cart after Bills defensive tackle C.J. Brewer landed on his left ankle, causing it to bend awkardly.
As of writing, no word on how serious Darnold's injury was.
The faceoff with the Patriots ended in a 20-10 loss for Carolina. That was a stark difference from the first preseason game for the Panthers when they eked out a 23-21 win against the Washington Commanders.
Friday's game was also under the spotlight for another reason: Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza is facing accusations that he raped a 17-year-old girl during his time at San Diego State University, according to WCNC Charlotte content partner station KFMB-TV. The Bills held out Arraiza for the game.
Araiza and two other football student-athletes at SDSU are accused of raping the girl, who is now 18 years old, during an off-campus party. One of the other two players named in the girl's civil complaint remains with the SDSU team, while the other one is no longer with the Aztecs. KFMB also confirmed the San Diego County District Attorney is still reviewing the case for possible criminal charges.
The Associated Press contributed to this report