WHAT HAPPENED IN TAMPA BAY’S 16-10 WIN OVER CAROLINA?
The Buccaneers started off the Greg Schiano era in Tampa Bay with a hard-fought, 16-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers. The win snaps a 10-game losing streak dating back to the 2011 season when the Bucs lost their final 10 games to conclude a 4-12 record and close the chapter on the Raheem Morris regime.
“That was a good team win and I’m real happy for the guys,” Schiano said. “Now the journey begins.”
Under Morris, the Bucs had the worst rushing defense in the NFL, surrendering an average of 150 yards per game. But on Sunday, Tampa Bay’s run defense was superb, holding Carolina to just 10 yards rushing on 13 attempts. Without starting running back Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams was held to minus-1 yard on six carries.
The Bucs defense was sensational in containing quarterback Cam Newton, who was sacked three times and held to four yards on five carries. Newton completed 23-of-33 passes for 303 yards and one touchdown, but threw two interceptions to safeties Ahmad Black and Ronde Barber, who also had a sack against the Carolina QB in his 200th career start.
“This was a good one,” Barber said. “My individual performance is just a reflection of the defense as a whole. … It felt like old times. We swarmed on them all day long and kept Cam in check.
“When you hold this team to 10 yards after they dominated us last year on the ground you did something right.”
“I was really happy for him,” Schiano said. “I’m really, really happy for him. He got his 200th start at cornerback and then played some free safety. We had good safety play from he, Mark [Barron] and Ahmad Black and coming away with takeaways.”
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy had a sensational game with several quarterback pressures, two tackles and his first sack of the season. Michael Bennett had a sack and a forced fumble and finished with two tackles.
While the Panthers struggled to run the ball, the Bucs showed off an improved running game, featuring rookie Doug Martin, who had 95 yards on 24 carries, including a 15-yarder to seal Tampa Bay’s win in the fourth quarter. Martin, who played the majority of the game after LeGarrette Blount suffered a groin injury in the second quarter and didn’t return, also caught four passes for 23 yards. Tampa Bay rushed for 130 yards against the Panthers and didn’t turn the ball over.
“If you take care of the football and possess the football you have a chance to win games,” Schiano said. “The guys did a good job of that today.”
The Bucs had a 37:27 to 23:33 time of possession advantage over the Panthers, which played a huge role in keeping the ball out of Newton’s hands.
“The best way to defend him is not to defend him,” Schiano said of Newton. “He’s a tough guy to defend.”
Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman was on fire in the first half of the game, completing 12-of-14 passes for 122 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown to Mike Williams. He also picked up two first downs with a 2-yard quarterback sneak and a 12-yard scramble. Freeman’s efficient play helped the Bucs jump out to a 13-0 lead at halftime.
Freeman also had a 7-yard scramble to pick up a first down in the third quarter and shook off a pair of second half sacks to finish the game completing 16-of-24 passes for 138 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions and a QB rating of 95.5. Freeman cooled off in the second half, and saw three of his passes dropped by wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who finished the game with four catches for 47 yards.HOW DID THE TEAM’S SCORE? – BUCS vs. PANTHERS SCORING SERIES
First Quarter – Bucs 7, Panthers 0
was a perfect 7-of-7 for 52 yards on the Bucs’ opening possession,
including two passes to fullback Erik Lorig for 20 yards and a 6-yard
touchdown pass to Williams. Martin contributed 26 yards on the ground
and 13 in the air. After traveling 80 yards in 13 plays, the Bucs led
7-0.First Quarter – Bucs 10, Panthers 0
A kick catch
interference penalty on Captain Munnerlyn during Sammie Stroughter’s
attempted punt return gave the Bucs 15 yards and advanced the ball to
the 50-yard line. Freeman hit Dallas Clark with a 33-yard pass down to
the Carolina 18. But the drive stalled there and Connor Barth was called
on to make a 36-yard field goal to give Tampa Bay a 10-0 lead.Second Quarter – Bucs 13, Panthers 0
Buccaneers benefited from two pass interference penalties – an 8-yard
penalty to convert a third-down and a 22-yarder – to the Tampa Bay 45.
Freeman’s 21-yard strike to Jackson preceded a 12-yard scramble by
Freeman down to the Carolina 19-yard line. Another pass to Jackson, this
one covering 15 yards, set up first-and-goal at the Carolina 4. But
after three tries, the Bucs had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by
Barth. With 2:55 left before halftime, Tampa Bay led Carolina, 13-0.Third Quarter – Bucs 13, Panthers 7
third-and-5, Newton hit tight end Greg Olsen with an 11-yard pass to
the Carolina 46. On the next play, Newton fired a 32-yard pass to Steve
Smith against the Bucs’ zone defense down to the Tampa Bay 22. There was
a miscommunication in the secondary on the next snap as Newton found
wide receiver Brandon LaFell wide open for a 22-yard touchdown strike.
It appeared as if rookie linebacker Lavonte David or free safety Ronde
Barber was out of position on the play. With 8:55 left in the third
quarter, the Panthers cut into Tampa Bay’s lead, 13-7.Fourth Quarter – Bucs 16, Panthers 7
Buccaneers started at the Carolina 42-yard line thanks to a blocked
punt by cornerback Aqib Talib, which was recovered by defensive end
Adrian Clayborn. Martin rushed for 12 yards and backup running back D.J.
Ware rushed for eight yards, but the drive stalled at the Panthers’ 22
and Barth was called on to kick a 40-yard field goal. Those points
increased the Bucs’ lead to 16-7 midway through the fourth quarter.Fourth Quarter – Bucs 16, Panthers 10
a 20-yard pass to Mike Tolbert on first-and-10 from the Carolina 11,
Louis Murphy beat Talib to haul in a 51-yard strike from Newton down to
the Tampa Bay 18. Smith caught a 7-yard pass on the next play down to
the 11. Smith hauled in a 4-yard pass to pick up a first down. Newton
scrambled for four yards down to the Tampa Bay 3 before having a pass to
Murphy broken up by Talib in the end zone. On third down, Newton’s
quarterback draw was stymied by linebacker Lavonte David and a host of
Bucs defenders. That forced a 21-yard field goal attempt by Justin
Medlock to cap off the eight-play, 86-yard drive.WHO WAS THE PEWTERREPORT.COM BUCS’ MVP?
Bay’s entire defense rose to the occasion of containing Cam Newton and
shutting down Carolina’s high-powered offense, winning the
PewterReport.com Bucs MVP honors. After surrendering a combined total of
86 points in two games a year ago to the Panthers, the Bucs defense
held the Panthers to just 10 points and 301 total yards of offense.
safeties Ronde Barber and Ahmad Black each picked off Newton, and
Barber sacked him for the 16-year veteran’s 28th career quarterback
capture. Defensive linemen Gerald McCoy and Michael Bennett each came up
with sacks of Newton, and Adrian Clayborn recovered a blocked punt by
Aqib Talib to set up the Bucs’ final field goal in the fourth quarter.
more importantly, the Bucs neutralized the Panthers’ potent running
game, which was missing Jonathan Stewart on Sunday. Carolina rushed for
just 10 yards on 13 carries (0.8 avg.). Starting halfback DeAngelo
Williams rushed six times for minus-1 yard. Rookie linebacker Lavonte
David had six tackles to lead the Buccaneers, while middle linebacker
Mason Foster had five stops, including a career-high three tackles for
loss.BARBER’s 200TH CAREER START CELEBRATED IN 2012 SEASON OPENER
has Ronde Barber done best in his 16-year NFL career? Pick off passes
and sack quarterbacks. The team celebrated his 200th NFL start in the
2012 regular season opener and Barber did his best to reward the Bucs
for making the day special for him by recording one of each.
his 200th start at cornerback in the team’s nickel defense on Sunday
before finishing the rest of the game at free safety, Barber finished
the game with five tackles, including a pair of tackles for loss, and
had the Bucs’ first sack of the season, a 2-yard loss of Cam Newton in
the second quarter as he pushed the Carolina QB out of bounds. The sack
was Barber’s 28th of his career.
Barber also picked off the
team’s first pass of the year when he caught a ball tipped by cornerback
Aqib Talib at the Tampa Bay 24 and returned out to the 50-yard line.
The veteran defensive back also had two pass breakups to tie cornerback
Eric Wright and strong safety Mark Barron in that category on Sunday.
received videotaped congratulations for his 200th start on the
Jumbotron during the game from a host of former Buccaneers, including
tight end Dave Moore, fullback Mike Alstott and linebackers Derrick
Brooks, Shelton Quarles and former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy.WHICH BUCCANEERS WERE INACTIVE?
inactives against the Panthers were: WR Arrelious Benn, CBs Myron
Lewis, E.J. Biggers, Anthony Gaitor, LB Najee Goode, OL Jamon Meredith,
and DL Wallace Gilberry.
Panthers' inactives against the Bucs
were: QB Jimmy Clausen, S D.J. Campbell, OL Jeff Byers, OT Bruce
Campbell, DT Sione Fua, DE Thomas Kaiser and RB Jonathan Stewart.WHICH BUCS GOT HURT?
back LeGarrette Blount appeared to have re-injured his groin with 8:31 left in the
second quarter and did not return. Blount finished with eight yards on
three carries. He was replaced by running back D.J. Ware, who had 14
yards on two carries. Blount was seen leaving the locker room jogging immediately following the game and appears to have not been injured seriously.
WHAT WERE THE GAME CONDITIONS?
The Bucs' 2012 season opener drew 51,533 fans. The temperature was 83
degrees at kickoff under cloudy skies with 79 percent humidity. There
was a rain and lightning delay coming out of halftime during the second
half as a thunderstorm passed through Tampa.WHAT WILL UPSET GREG SCHIANO WHEN HE WATCHES THE FILM?
Larsen, who replaced the injured Davin Joseph at right guard, was
flagged for a false start and a costly holding penalty, which negated a
31-yard pass play to wide receiver Vincent Jackson. Although the Bucs
only got flagged for four penalties for 35 yards, Larsen drew half of
Tampa Bay’s offense only generated 258 yards, including
just 87 yards in the second half, and was outscored 10-3 in the final 30
minutes by the Panthers. Schiano would have loved to have seen the
Buccaneers punch the ball in the end zone on the two trips inside the
red zone that the team had to settle for field goals. Right before
halftime, the Bucs had a second-and-goal from the Carolina 1, but lost a
yard over the next two plays and had to settle for a 20-yard Connor
Barth field goal.
"When you get down there that close you have to score touchdowns," Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman said.
Buccaneers didn’t get anything from their return game as Sammie
Stroughter had to fair catch three punts and Preston Parker had zero
yards on his only return of the game. Rookie Michael Smith averaged just
18.3 yards on his three kickoff returns with a long of only 23 yards.WHAT’S UP NEXT FOR THE BUCS?
Bay (1-0) travels to New York to face the Super Bowl champion Giants
(0-1) next Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox.
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