Mayfield shines in his first start; Panthers riddled with injuries in win over Bills, 21-0

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Baker Mayfield completed 9 of 15 passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns and the Carolina Panthers defeated the Buffalo Bills 21-0 on Friday night in the preseason finale for both teams.

PANTHERS COVERAGE: QB Mayfield starting for Panthers in Week 1 against Browns

Mayfield, who was announced as the Panthers’ Week 1 starter earlier in the week, threw a 2-yard TD pass to D’Onta Foreman and a 19-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Shi Smith against Buffalo’s second-team defense.

The Panthers scored on two of four possessions with Mayfield at the helm.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold is treated after getting injured during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold is treated after getting injured during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold leaves the field on a cart after getting injured during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold leaves the field on a cart after getting injured during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield breaks away from Buffalo Bills defensive end Mike Love during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield breaks away from Buffalo Bills defensive end Mike Love during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold runs form a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the second half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold runs form a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the second half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Case Keenum passes against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Case Keenum passes against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Buffalo Bills running back Duke Johnson breaks away from Carolina Panthers cornerback Kalon Barnes during the second half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones)
Buffalo Bills running back Duke Johnson breaks away from Carolina Panthers cornerback Kalon Barnes during the second half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones)
Carolina Panthers fullback Giovanni Ricci is tackled by Buffalo Bills safety Jaquan Johnson during the second half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers fullback Giovanni Ricci is tackled by Buffalo Bills safety Jaquan Johnson during the second half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott watches during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Carolina Panthers on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones)
Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott watches during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Carolina Panthers on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones)
Carolina Panthers running back John Lovett jumps over Buffalo Bills cornerback Cam Lewis during the second half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers running back John Lovett jumps over Buffalo Bills cornerback Cam Lewis during the second half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield points in the rain during warms up before an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield points in the rain during warms up before an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule smiles during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule smiles during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Shi Smith scores against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Shi Smith scores against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield throws a touchdown pass against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield throws a touchdown pass against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey watches during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey watches during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Case Keenum passes against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Case Keenum passes against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn celebrates after and interception against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn celebrates after and interception against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold passes against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold passes against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Case Keenum looks to pass against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Case Keenum looks to pass against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn celebrates after an interception with safety Juston Burris against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn celebrates after an interception with safety Juston Burris against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers fans watches during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Carolina Panthers fans watches during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

The Bills rested all of their starters, including quarterback Josh Allen. The Panthers played most of their starters into the second quarter, although running back Christian McCaffrey sat out.

Case Keenum struggled to move the Buffalo offense, going 8 of 13 for 46 yards with one interception that the Panthers quickly converted into a touchdown.

After going three and out on the game’s opening series, Mayfield showed poise in the pocket leading the Panthers on a 12-play, 53-yard touchdown drive. After a play-action fake, he found Foreman in the right flat for an easy touchdown on fourth down.

After Jeremy Chinn intercepted Keenum’s pass that was tipped at the line by Yetur Gross-Matos, Mayfield connected with Smith over the middle for the score. Panthers coach Matt Rhule earlier this week called Smith “one of the true bright spots” of the preseason, adding that he has a chance to win a starting job.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.