Grading the Panthers defense vs. Tampa Bay
Special Teams: A-
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Special teams continues to play a vital role in the success for Carolina. On Sunday they struck again in the form of a 103-yard kickoff return touchdown from wide receiver Damiere Byrd.
The longest such return in franchise history, he unfortunately was hurt late and again placed on injured reserve ending his season earlier than anticipated.
Kicker Graham Gano came up big for Carolina, converting three field goal attempts despite having one extra point blocked.
Overall, the defensive performance was lacking by virtue of the number of big plays allowed but performed well enough for the win. By keeping Tampa Bay out of the end zone, Carolina gave their offense an opportunity to win the game late.
Next: CAR vs. TB Report Card - Offense
Now at 11-4, the Panthers have extended their season and still have an opportunity at the divisional title, with a win and New Orleans loss, entering their final game.