Panthers get the ball on their first possession at the 20.
Predictably, they got a first down and then had to punt on the following 3rd down. Nortman punted to the 24 yard line and the defense did the same to the Bucs – punt after a single first down, then the disaster that has been our special teams happened. AGAIN!
Captain Munnerlyn took the punt at the 15 and had a nice return going…until he fumbled it away at the Panthers’ 29 yard line.
NICE. I wonder if rookie Joe Adams will finally get another shot?
The special teams are just SO mundane it isn’t funny. Ron Rivera’s pretty much run out of non-fumbling return men.
James Anderson got a personal foul against Freeman when he ran and started a slide in a very close call, but the Bucs didn’t need the help really. Freeman threw a TD pass to TE Nate Byham (his first career TD) in the back of the end zone.
7-0, Bucs @ 3:33 in the 1st
The Panthers started at their own 16 and on first and ten, Newton (again) threw off his back foot with great inaccuracy as the ball went over Greg Olsen’s head incomplete. After a one-yard run on third and nine, Olsen had a deep pass go off his fingertips. He was open but the ball was just very slightly overthrown by Cam. He’s not in rhythm today even though he’s had time to pass. NOT a good sign.
The Bucs took over after a 36 yard punt and wound up with a 51-yard FG when their drive stalled.
10-0, Bucs @ 2:19 in the 1st
On their next drive, 2 runs yielded 4 yards to set up 3rd and 6 but this time Cam hit Steve Smith over the middle to puck up the first down. On the play, Geoff Hangartner got flagged for illegal hands to the face, negating their best play of the day so far.
Da’Quan Bowers sacked Cam at the three, easily beating Jordan Gross. The Panthers managed to down a punt around midfield which is pretty good considering Nortman was backed up against his own end line to punt. He got it out and gave the defense a chance at least.
Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson collided on the play and both were down for a few minutes. Tampa Bay OT Donald Penn had been escorted off a couple of plays previously with an unknown injury but it didn’t appear too serious. All later returned to the game.
After the delay, Josh Freeman threw an ill-advised pass that Captain Munnerlyn stepped in front of and returned 74 yards for a touchdown. The pressure got to Freeman as he threw it without much on it, allowing Munnerlyn to make up for his earlier fumble. Finally, something is going the Panthers’ way. Go defense!
Bucs 10, Panthers 7 @ 0:35 in the 1st
Doug Martin started out with a 20-yard run against a nine-man box to get them to their own 40 but eventually had to punt.
Yep, it was Joe Adams.
Inactive since a fumbled punt of his own in week 3, he got another chance with the officer’s fumble earlier. Joe made 2 guys miss on a pretty exciting 11-yard return…he stiff-armed a linebacker and ran out of bounds. He’s clearly dangerous…if he can hold on to the ball!!
Two plays later, Newton threw a screen pass to Jonathan Stewart, who took it 30 yards to the Buccaneers’ 36 yard line. Two plays later, Newton hit Steve Smith while on the run rolling out avoiding the blitz. The play took them to the 11-yard line to set them up.
On third and ten after an incomplete pass and a stuffed QB draw *yawn* the Panthers caught a break. Safety Mark Barron got called for pass interference covering Greg Olson on a fade route that was actually thrown perfectly by Cam.
Jonathan Stewart plunged in from the one on the next play to give the Panthers an unlikely lead.
Panthers 14, Bucs 10 @ 8:53 in the 2nd
Charles Godfrey had a nice batted down pass on a blitz on second down, forcing a 3rd and 10. Kuechly smothered an underhand toss as Frank Alexander came flying through the air. D.J. Ware caught it but no gain.
My impressions so far are the same as the entire season’s. Cam can be enticingly accurate just enough to make me wonder what he’d be able to do if he got his mechanics in order. The defense is carrying this team, with the line being very active and disruptive. Kuechly continues to impress.
Carolina started their subsequent drive at their own 32. Cam had a couple of nice runs to pick up a first and Louis Murphy dropped a short pass. Stewart lost 3 yards and here comes the 3rd and 13. Then WOW….
Cam was being pinched by the pass rush and just took off. He put a move on Mark Barron, leaving him with a self-faceplant “move” as Cam ran by him for a 17-yard gain. He seemed to be pretty off especially early, but has been using his feet to move the chains this drive.
And Byron Bell gets a false start. C’mon!! What IS it with this team and the foot-shooting business?
Cam answered with a beautifully-thrown pass to Greg Olson on a “Go” pattern over the middle to the 13-yard line. Williams got them 6 yards to the 7 on the following run but Cam was stuffed on a read play where he held on too long in making the decision on an option run. Steve Smith shoved CB Eric Wright to the ground for a very obvious offensive pass interference call to set up 3rd and 19.
3rd and 19 is a lot to ask of any team, and it’s situations like this that kill scoring chances. Newton missed an open Armanti Edwards to set up the 40-yard FG attempt. Medlock missed it right – barely.
Neither team could get anything going before the end of the half.
The Bucs took the ball and punted on 3-and-out. Joe Adams had a decent 16-yard return. I really think Adams is the guy..if he can hang on to the ball. I hate saying it all the time, but that’s been the issue. I hope it’s fixed. Time will tell.
The new special teams coach called a fake punt for Carolina but a direct snap to Nakamura was horribly done.
Strangely enough, Nakamura himself intercepted a deep pass underthrown by Josh Freeman. He had Vincent Jackson open for a score but just threw it poorly. The Panthers will take it.
Oh, Newton got sacked. This time, Byron Bell was the beaten one.
Decent screen, but rookie Amini Silatolu had the same penalty on the same play last week – illegal block….2nd and only 24 to go. Tolbert still almost got to the first down markers on another screen but was hauled down a good 2 yards shy.
It wasn’t until the Bucs threatened in the 4th quarter that much else worth mentioning happened. Rookie RB Doug Martin asserted himself on this particular drive. Josh Freeman was stopped short of the first down on a scramble where he didn’t see a wide-open Dallas Clark in the left flat.
4th and 1; Schiano left in the offense.
Doug Martin looked like he scored a TD on the run, but fumbled just after he “crossed the plane.” Officials looked at each other and ruled a fumble. The replays were very close and inconclusive, so the touchback stood. Thomas Davis caused the fumble.
Carolina really dodged a bullet there and got moving on a third and 2 pass to Mr. Chain-mover, Brandon LaFell. LaFell has made some quiet but nice third down conversions for the team this year and this one was one of the easiest…he was open a few yards out over the middle but ran a bit with it before being tackled.
On the next third down, Newton hit Steve Smith on a quick slant for 17 yards.
On the next play, Cam lifted the spirits of fans everywhere when he hit a wide-open LaFell over the middle for a touchdown. For the first time in a long time, it’s nice to feel this good this late in the game.
Panthers 21, Bucs 10 @ 6:00 in the 4th
Josh Freeman isn’t making good decisions today. I’m thinking it’s the pressure he’s facing every down. He’s missing guys that are open too, and sometimes when he does have good pass protection. He did convert a 4th and 5 pass for a first, but then overthrew Vincent Jackson the next play. Hmm.
He faced 4th and 2 on the next series and sent Connor Barth out to kick a 40-yard FG. He drilled it.
Panthers 21, Bucs 13 @ 4:34 in the 4th
This is where the offense needs to assert itself and grind the time away. We will see.
2 rushes, -1 yards. Cam hit Louis Murphy on the sideline for 12 yards on 3rd and 11. It was a perfectly-thrown and somewhat risky pass but he got away with the throw. Murphy did a great job of making and securing the catch while getting his toes down.
Yeah, they got the conversion and all is forgiven, but they still aren’t executing in the running game. Cam finally took it around right end for 10 yards on the third and 12, 2 runs had them minus-two yards again so they just ran the clock on that one, forcing the Bucs to use their final timeout.
1:02 remaining and Josh Freeman starts at his own 20 on the apparent final drive of the game. Josh Thomas punched out a pass before Thomas Davis got flagged on a shot to the head on WR Tiquan Underwood, putting the Bucs at midfield. A 17-yarder over the middle and a spike left them with 20 seconds at the 24-yard line.
Then, of course, Vincent Jackson caught a TD pass over the top and in-between defenders as the 6’5″ receiver snatched it from the air.
Down 2 points now, they’ll make their 2-point conversion attempt to force overtime, then win it there. That would be the Panthers’ luck this year, but they still have to run the play.
Rivera called a timeout after seeing the offense, but had probably planned on calling anyway. Ice Josh Freeman? Watch out for Martin?
No, it was V-Jax on the reception on a play that apparently took advantage of a rookie MLB’s instincts, getting him out of position with a play-action fake.
Panthers 21, Bucs 21 @ 0:12 left in the 4th
The Panthers ironically take a knee out of the “Victory” formation. That’s what I get for feeling good about the Panthers for once – back at the 6-minute mark.
The Bucs won the toss and took the ball. I’m overjoyed now.
2 Doug Martin runs later, the Bucs go from their 20 to Carolina’s 45-yard line. They work it inside the 20 for a third and short. A short out-pass to V-Jax moves the chains. The defense looks gassed.
Sure enough, Josh Freeman found Dallas Clark open down the left side on a Wheel route for a touchdown. James Anderson fell down on coverage.
Bucs 27, Panthers 21 *** FINAL IN OVERTIME
Why does this not surprise me?