BY NICK ST. DENIS
When Dan Carpenter blew a 42-yard field goal attempt wide right in the first quarter of the Buffalo Bills' home opener against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, the Bills faithful had swiftly and understandably written him off then and there.
Carpenter then wrote himself back on.
The journeyman kicker, who some consider a lame duck while youngster Dustin Hopkins nurses a groin injury, bounced back with a 55-yard field goal in the second stanza.
Carpenter helped chase Ted Ginn out of bounds on the ensuing kickoff and went on to make two more field goals -- a 20-yarder in the third quarter and a 48-yarder in the fourth.
The veteran boot later capped off a dramatic comeback drive with the game-winning extra point with just a couple ticks left on the clock.
Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel manufactured an 80-yard scoring drive highlighted by a touchdown strike to receiver Stevie Johnson, and Carpenter's point after sealed a 24-23 victory for the now 1-1 Bills.
Two plays prior to the touchdown, Manuel was intercepted near the end zone, but Carolina was flagged for pass interference and yielded a backbreaking 20 yards to set up Buffalo on the doorstep.
What was most interesting about Carpenter's 50-plus field goal is that former Bills coach Chan Gailey almost always opted to punt when a field goal attempt would be teed past the midfield. Some of that could also be attributed to former longtime Bills kicker Rian Lindell's weak leg.
Follow Nick @NickStDenis
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily