Oct 24, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert (35) reacts after he scored a touchdown during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Carolina Panthers defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-13. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Recap

For the first time since Week 17 of 2008 the Carolina Panthers are over .500. While you let that sink in let’s get to tonight’s win over Tampa Bay.

Cam Newton continued his efficient play that picked up after the loss to Arizona. We saw exactly why he is this team’s franchise quarterback going forward. Among his best plays was the first touchdown of the game in which he shook off a defender and found a wide open Greg Olsen in the end zone. Carolina’s opening drive went for 15 plays and 70 yards, but also chewed up over eight minutes of clock. The Panthers have lacked an offensive identity during Ron Rivera’s tenure, although they appear to have found it. This isn’t an offense that is going to strike quick. Carolina is going to take its time, try to win the time of possession battle and look to wear opposing defenses down.

The Bucs had opportunities in this one, but showed us why they are now 0-7. Vincent Jackson dropped a third down pass on the first drive that would have moved the chains. Tampa Bay’s ensuing drive ended up with three points but rookie quarterback Mike Glennon missed a wide open receiver on third down that would have extended the drive. The next two third downs the Bucs would face that ended drives were poor snaps that were fumbled.

The Panthers were able to capitalize on the Bucs’ mistakes throughout the evening and find the end zone. It was a good night to be a Panthers fan and we all should enjoy having a winning record. Now the schedule gets harder with a veteran Atlanta team coming to town before dates with two of the top dogs in the NFL in San Francisco and New England.

As always we’ll have more postgame coverage coming your way with a deeper look into the Panthers’ 31-13 win over the Bucs.

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