4 critical observations from the Panthers shock win vs. Bucs in Week 7

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Wilks
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Wilks /
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What were some critical observations as the Carolina Panthers pulled off a surprise 21-3 win over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

When news broke Thursday that the Carolina Panthers traded star running back Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers for a haul of draft picks, their bottom-of-the-league offense was expected to get worse. Not exactly the best preparation for a crucial divisional clash against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This feeling was matched by sportsbooks as the Panthers went from 9.5-point to 13.5-point underdogs following the McCaffrey trade. However, Carolina flipped the script as they dominated the Buccaneers in all facets of the game, holding the great Tom Brady out of the end zone to just three points during a dominant performance.

On the other side of the ball, we saw the Panthers put together their best offensive display of the season just three days removed from McCaffrey’s departure. PJ Walker put together the best performance of his NFL career, finishing 16/22 for 177 passing yards, two touchdowns, and a passer rating of 126.5.

We also saw the Panthers establish the running game with a multi-back approach. Although Chuba Hubbard was named the starter, both the Oklahoma State product and D’Onta Foreman did the damage as Carolina accumulated an outstanding 173 rushing yards on the day.

It was an admirable defensive performance, especially considering at points in the game the Panthers were missing all three starters at cornerback. We witnessed big plays from the likes of Keith Taylor Jr. and Myles Hartsfield, with defensive tackle Derrick Brown continuing to establish himself as one of the premier players at the position anywhere in the league as interim defensive coordinator Al Holcomb’s unit stifled Brady throughout.

Without further ado, here are four critical observations from an impressive Panthers’ win in Week 7 at Bank of America Stadium.