The Tampa Bay Buccaneers managed to inflict the second straight loss to Carolina Panthers, in one very interesting game in Charlotte. The guests from Florida left home with a 20-14 win, which was fought with a heroic performance in the last minutes of the contest.
Vernon Hargreaves, Bucs’ cornerback, stopped Christian McCaffrey on his way towards either the first down or the endzone with 1:24 to go. It was Panthers’ fourth down, two yards away from the end zone, and inches from the first down. Todd Bowles defense really rose to the occasion tonight.
“The defense stood up and did a hell of a play,” head coach Bruce Arians told about Bucs’ last defense. “I’m proud of how defense played the whole night. I think we handled McCaffrey pretty well… Todd had a great plan coming in.”
To demonstrate how good was Tampa’s defense we will tell you that Carolina rushed for only 39 yards in this one, and that was all McCaffrey who carried the ball 16 times for 37 yards. Newton had two carries for zero yards. That is right, you’ve heard it well, zero yards.
The former MVP had a pretty lousy night, throwing 333 yards, but completing just 25 of his 51 attempts, without a touchdown. He did fumble the ball once though.
Shaquil Barret, the 26-year old linebacker sacked Super Cam three times in this match, pushing back the Panthers 20 yards. Once again, it appears that one of the best running backs in the league doesn’t have proper protection around him. If a loss against the Rams at the season opener wasn’t something tragic, a defeat in this contest is pretty worrying.
On the other side, Jameis Winston recorded his first road win as a starter since Week 13 in 2016. Overall, Tampa has snapped a 12-game losing streak on the road and finally posted a victory.
“Our defense played a great job all night, so we just had to protect the football, and we got a good win,” the former No.1 pick stated and praised both Bowles and Arians for their positive impact on the Bucs’ crew.
“He let you play football,” Winston said about Arians. “That is something we really admire about him, he let you play football, and he teach you the game of football. It is a blessing to have him as a head coach.”
Winston threw 208 yards, completing 16 of 25 passes for one TD, and was, in general, doing a solid job at the Bank of America stadium. His target for the touchdown was Chris Goodwin who caught the ball 8 times for 121 yards.
RB Peyton Barber had a massive impact on Tampa Bay’s win, rushing for 82 yards on 23 carries. He was the force which did all the dirty work on the field. Eventually, the 25-year old would have a 16-yard rush for a TD which brought the Bucs on top, 17-12.
“He didn’t look like himself.” 👀
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) September 13, 2019
Greg Olsen caught 110 yards for the Panthers, Curtis Samuel 91, and DJ Moore 89. Carolina had more yards from scrimmage in this one, 333 compared to 208 by the guests, and had more first-downs, 20-16. But that isn’t what counts. The home team had just one lead in the entire game when Joey Slye made a 51-yard field goal with 7:51 to go until the end of the third, to give a 12-10 lead to the Panthers.
Still, that wasn’t enough.
This wasn’t the way Carolina planned to start the season, and that is for sure. Many things aren’t as they should be in Ron Rivera’s team. They now have two road games, the first one against the Cardinals next week, and following that in Houston against the Texans.
Meanwhile, the Bucs are now traveling home to face the New York Giants, which is a nice opportunity to win two in a row, and after that heading for California to play against the Rams.