In a game where the Bucs surpassed 500 yards of total offense, Jason Pierre-Paul hauled in his third career interception, Justin Watson nabbed one of the team’s two sacks on a fake punt attempt from Carolina and Ronald Jones II broke off a 97-yard touchdown run, Tampa Bay came away with a big 46-23 win following two consecutive disappointing performances.
After a fumble from Jones on the Bucs’ first drive of the day, leading to a Carolina score that would give the Panthers a 7-0 lead in the first, Tampa Bay would battle back to tie the game at 17 before halftime, eventually putting up points on their next nine drives. In the second half the Bucs would take over. After questions have surfaced about the Bucs’ defense in recent weeks, the unit clamped down late as their only points allowed in the final two quarters – a 3-yard rushing touchdown from Teddy Bridgewater – came after a 98-yard kickoff return from Trenton Cannon that downed Carolina at the Bucs’ 4-yard line.
Led by 341 passing yards and four total touchdowns from Tom Brady and a career-high 192 rushing yards from Jones, the Bucs were able to move to 7-3 on the season and 2-2 in the division. New Orleans currently sits ahead of Tampa Bay for the divisional lead at 6-2, with two wins over the Bucs already, and will hold on to their lead for at least one more week regardless of how their game against San Francisco finishes this afternoon.