MOST IMPRESSIVE BUCCANEERS vs. PANTHERS
Tampa Bay lost its 2014 season opener, 20-14, against the visiting Carolina Panthers. While the loss was disappointing from several aspects – namely the ineffectiveness of Tampa Bay’s pass rush and the Bucs’ lack of offense through three quarters – there were a few standouts who played well. Here are five impressive Buccaneers that played well against the Panthers.
DT Gerald McCoy
McCoy made a nice stop on the Panthers’ first third-down opportunity to create a rare three-and-out for Tampa Bay’s defense. While the most penalized Buccaneer last year had two offsides penalties against Carolina, the two-time Pro Bowler started off the season the right way with eight solo tackles, two tackles for loss and Tampa Bay’s lone sack. McCoy’s sack was timely as it came on third down and forced the Panthers to punt with the Bucs’ trailing 17-7 in the fourth quarter. McCoy had a career-high 9.5 sacks last season and is on pace to break that mark already.
FB Jorvorskie Lane
Lane, the team’s lone fullback, provided the Buccaneers with their longest and most unexpected play of the game, a 54-yard carry on a fullback dive out of Tampa Bay’s own end zone in the first half. Lane wasn’t too excited about the play after the game in the locker room, telling PewterReport.com, “If I was 10 pounds lighter I would have scored. I’m losing 10 pounds starting tomorrow.”
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
The rookie tight end made an impressive, 26-yard catch in his NFL debut before injuring his ankle run blocking for Doug Martin. Seferian-Jenkins got his first NFL start alongside veteran Brandon Myers, who was the Bucs’ leading receiver with six catches for 41 yards – most of which came when Seferian-Jenkins was out in the second half.
LB Lavonte David
Tampa Bay’s leading tackler from 2013 picked up right where he left off in the 2014 season opener. While he didn’t make any splash plays or create any takeaways, David was solid against the run and in pass protection. He led the Bucs with 10 tackles and had two tackles for loss.
PR-KR Solomon Patton
The rookie was signed from the practice squad on Saturday and served as the Buccaneers’ punt and kickoff return specialist on Sunday. Patton returned his first punt 12 yards and had a big 33-yard return that sparked Tampa Bay’s second touchdown in the fourth quarter. He averaged 14 yards on four returns, and also averaged 26 yards on two kickoff returns.
WR Chris Owusu
Owusu didn’t make much of a splash as Tampa Bay’s third wide receiver, catching two passes for 20 yards, but one of them was a 19-yard touchdown that keyed the Bucs’ fourth quarter comeback and trimmed Carolina’s lead to 17-7. The touchdown catch was the first of Owusu’s career as he was able to double tap his feet in the front left corner of the end zone while hauling in a bullet from quarterback Josh McCown.
Scott Reynolds is in his 22nd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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