Panthers claw to 42-28 win over Bucs in offensive shootout
The Panthers got the job done.
After a great game against the Baltimore Ravens last week, the Carolina Panthers looked to build off it against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A divisional win here would be crucial and continue the positive momentum that this season has brought. The Panthers got exactly that, beating Tampa Bay rather handily.
The good guys started out the scoring in the first quarter. Alex Armah took the ball in from a yard out at the 10:34 mark in the first frame, capping a three-yard, 10-play drive that took a little over a minute. Christian McCaffrey would provide the scoring spark next as he ran the ball from three yards out at the 3:14 mark in the first quarter. That ended an eight-play, 88-yard drive that took just under four minutes off the clock.
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With Carolina firmly in control, the Buccaneers would score to begin the second frame. O.J. Howard was on the receiving end of a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass from four yards out to cut the Buccaneers deficit in half. Scored at the 14:15 mark in the second quarter, it was a nice way for Tampa Bay to get back into the game. The good vibes were short-lived as Curtis Samuel would score a touchdown for the Panthers via the running game, taking the ball 33 yards to the house. Following a Graham Gano kick, the Panthers made it a 21-7 game. The Panthers continued to put their foot on the gas pedal. Christian McCaffrey was the next to score for Carolina. He took the ball in from a yard out to make it a 28-7 game, capping off a four-play, 42-yard drive.
Greg Olsen has had a great couple of weeks since returning from his injury. He continued his stellar play for the Panthers on Sunday. He caught a 17-yard pass from the arm of Cam Newton to find paydirt. The Panthers moved the ball efficiently on this drive taking five plays and 25 yards to reach the promised land. With the score now 35-7, the Panthers began officially running away with the game. Despite the score not looking good for Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers continued to play hard. The Fitzpatrick-Howard connection was evident again as Tampa Bay put together an 11-play, 75-yard drive that ended with the two connecting in the end zone. With the drive taking a little under four minutes, the Buccaneers’ touchdown made it a 35-14 game and gave them a bit of momentum heading into halftime.
The momentum would extend into the beginning of the third quarter, as the Buccaneers would score another touchdown. This time, it was wideout Adam Humphries finding the end zone. He caught a five-yard toss from Fitzpatrick at the 5:14 mark in the third quarter, ending a 10 play, 84-yard drive. The rest of the quarter belonged to the defenses as neither side would score for the remainder of the frame. That brought us to the fourth quarter where the Humphries-Fitzpatrick connection was on display again. This time, it was via a 30-yard heave to the end zone to make it a tighter game at 35-28. However, Curtis Samuel would officially put any Tampa Bay comeback hopes to bed as he caught a 19-yard pass at the 9:04 mark in the game from the arm of Newton to make it a 42-28 contest. That would be the final score, giving Carolina a comfortable win and in an offensive shootout.
Newton had a great day today, going 19-25 for 247 yards and two touchdowns. McCaffrey put a much better game forward on the ground, rushing the rock 17 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, he was the team’s leading receiver, catching five passes for 78 yards. Captain Munnerlyn and Thomas Davis paced the defensive attack, leading the team with eight tackles apiece.
The Carolina Panthers will play their next game this Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kickoff time is set for 8:20 p.m.