WHAT HAPPENED IN TAMPA BAY’S 31-13 LOSS TO CAROLINAAfter taking a verbal beating from NFL Network analyst and Bucs legend Warren Sapp and NFL insider Michael Silver, who wrote a scathing rebuke of Greg Schiano on Thursday with some damning quotes from former defensive end Michael Bennett, Tampa Bay’s head coach “desperately needed a win.”
Those were his own words prior to Thursday’s 31-13 loss on a nationally televised game on NFL Network. The loss dropped Tampa Bay to 0-7 on the season.
“Well, we got licked,” Schiano said. “My hat’s off to Carolina. They played better than we did and they coached better than we did. That was the result.”
Schiano has now lost 12 of his last 13 games as the Buccaneers head coach, and by the loud chorus of boos from the stands, the Fire Schiano signs in Raymond James Stadium and around town he has lost the Bucs fan base.
“It doesn’t affect me,” Schiano said of the fans calling for him to be fired. “People are certainly entitled to their opinion. Here’s the thing – my whole career as a player and a coach, you get up in the morning and work as hard and as smart as you can. That usually puts you to bed tired, and you get up and do it again. That’s the way I do it.”
With the defense surrendering 31 points for the third straight game since the bye week, and Tampa Bay’s offense continuing to struggle mightily, has Schiano lost the players, too?
Bucs cornerback Darrelle Revis was asked if the team still believes in the coaches and the scheme after the loss on Thursday night.
“I don’t know … I don’t know,” Revis said. “We (have to) game plan every week. We (have to) stick to the gameplan. We have to abide by the gameplan and what we have to do to win. I don’t think guys are literally going out there and trying to do their own thing. In every game there are mistakes up and down the board. The word that we have to focus on is consistency. At this point that’s hard word for us to try to do, to try to be consistent and we’re not. We’re not being consistent across the board so it’s hurting us.”
The Buccaneers have now lost seven straight home games under Schiano, which is the longest losing streak since 1976-77.
Tampa Bay’s defense had no answer for Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, who was spectacular. He completed 23-of-32 passes for 221 yards with two touchdowns, in addition to rushing for 50 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown.
The Bucs sacked Newton three times, but that didn’t stop him from helping Carolina convert 5-of-12 (42 percent) of its third downs, and a key fourth down conversion in the first half.
Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams rushed for 43 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, while fellow running back Mike Tolbert carried the ball seven times for 35 yards and caught four passes for 29 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown.
Wide receiver Steve Smith was held in check with just four catches for 42 yards, but Ted Ginn had a big night with five catches for 80 yards in helping Carolina jump out to a 14-3 lead before Tampa Bay narrowed the gap to 14-6 at halftime. The Panthers’ lead would swell to 28-6 in the fourth quarter.
Tampa Bay struggled on third down offensively, converting just 4-of-14 (29 percent) of its opportunities. Quarterback Mike Glennon set an NFL record in attempting 181 passes, which is the most for a rookie quarterback in his first four games. Glennon completed 30-of-51 passes for 275 yards with one touchdown and no turnovers.
Rookie running back Mike James replaced Doug Martin and led the Bucs with 39 yards on 10 carries, in addition to catching four passes for 25 yards. Running back Brian Leonard led the Bucs with six catches for 32 yards, while wide receiver Vincent Jackson had five catches for 79 yards. Rookie tight end Tim Wright caught his first NFL touchdown pass, and the Bucs’ only TD of the night, while finishing with five catches for 48 yards.
“This is as low as you can get right now,” Revis said. “Being 0-7 is tough. It really is. I really don’t know what to say. We’re 0-7. That’s where we’re at and I hope we get ourselves out of this hole soon.”
That will be a tall order next Sunday as Tampa Bay travels to Seattle to face a 6-1 Seahawks squad that may be the best team in the NFC.
HOW DID THE TEAMS SCORE? – BUCS vs. PANTHERS SCORING SERIESFirst Quarter – Panthers 7, Buccaneers 0Panthers QB Cam Newton was brilliant on his first drive, connecting on 7-of-8 passes for 57 yards and rushing three times for 23 yards, including a 16-yarder on third-and-12 to pick up a first down. On third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Newton found a wide-open tight end Greg Olsen in the end zone for a touchdown to give Carolina a 7-0 lead.
First Quarter – Panthers 7, Buccaneers 3Quarterback Mike Glennon hit Vincent Jackson for a 29-yard gain on third-and-10, and then found running back Mike James for a 20-yard gain on the next play. But the drive stalled at the Carolina 29 and Rian Lindell connected on a 47-yard field goal to cut Carolina’s lead to 7-3.
Second Quarter – Panthers 14, Buccaneers 3Running back Mike Tolbert got the drive started with runs of four and 22 yards before Newton found wide receiver Ted Ginn for a 35-yard gain across the middle. DeAngelo Williams scored on a 12-yard run on the next play to increase Carolina’s lead to 14-3.
Second Quarter – Panthers 14, Buccaneers 6On third-and-7 from the Tampa Bay 30, Glennon hit wide receiver Tiquan Underwood with a 16-yard pass and wide receiver Mike Williams for a gain of 12 yards. After two James runs picked up 11 yards, the drive stalled at the Carolina 26 when Glennon fumbled a low shotgun snap from center Ted Larsen.
Third Quarter – Panthers 21, Buccaneers 6Newton started off the drive with a 16-yard pass to Olsen. After two scrambles by Newton picked up eight yards, Tolbert picked up two yards on fourth-and-1 down to the Tampa Bay 26. Newton scrambled for 19 yards down to the Tampa Bay 7, and then two plays later, he scrambled for a 6-yard touchdown to give the Panthers a 21-6 lead in the third quarter.
Fourth Quarter – Panthers 28, Buccaneers 6A muffed punt by Eric Page set up Carolina with great field position at the Tampa Bay 29. A 10-yard run by Williams, preceded a 12-yard catch by Brockel down to the 3-yard line. On first-and-goal from the Tampa Bay 1, Newton threw a TD pass to Tolbert to give Carolina a 28-6 lead.
Fourth Quarter – Panthers 31, Buccaneers 6After Glennon’s fourth down incompletion, the Panthers took possession at the Tampa Bay 16, but could only gain five yards and had to settle for a Graham Gano 29-yard field goal.
Fourth Quarter – Panthers 31, Buccaneers 13Against a soft defense, Glennon was 9-of-11 for 81 yards, hitting Jackson with three catches for 38 yards before he found tight end Tim Wright in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown to cut into Carolina’s big lead.
WHAT WAS NOTABLE ABOUT THURSDAY’S GAME FOR THE BUCS?Ted Larsen got the start at center for Jeremy Zuttah, who started at left guard for Carl Nicks. … Rookie Mike James started at running back for Doug Martin. … Bucs linebacker Lavonte David had a first quarter sack of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. The sack was David’s fifth of the season, which is a career high and leads Tampa Bay. David led the Bucs with 12 tackles. … Cornerback Michael Adams sacked Newton in the second quarter for his first career sack. … Defensive end Adrian Clayborn recorded his third sack of the season, dropping Newton in the third quarter. … Rookie tight end Tim Wright caught his first touchdown of his career, a 10-yarder, in the fourth quarter. Wright finished the game with five catches for 48 yards and his TD.
WHICH BUCCANEERS WERE INACTIVE?The following Bucs were inactive against the Panthers: FS Dashon Goldson, RB Jeff Demps, RB Doug Martin, G Patrick Omameh, G Carl Nicks, DT Derek Landri and WR Chris Owusu.
The following Panthers were inactive against the Bucs: WR Tavarres King, WR Marvin McNutt, CB Josh Thomas, RB Armond Smith, TE Brandon Williams, DT Dwan Edwards and DT Sione Fua.
WHICH BUCS GOT HURT?• Cornerback Johnthan Banks was injured in the second quarter and was replaced by Michael Adams before returning in the second half.
• Strongside linebacker Dekoda Watson suffered an injured shoulder and was replaced by Jonathan Casillas.
WHAT WILL UPSET GREG SCHIANO WHEN HE WATCHES THE FILM?• Carolina had three open receivers in the end zone on the Panthers’ first touchdown, which was a 1-yard catch by tight end Greg Olsen.
• The Bucs struggled on offense on third down in the first half with wide receiver Vincent Jackson dropping a catchable pass and quarterback Mike Glennon fumbling two low shotgun snaps from center Ted Larsen. The first two plays resulted in Tampa Bay punts, and the third one forced a field goal by Rian Lindell. Larsen was benched and Jeremy Zuttah returned to center right before halftime.
• The defensive line stunts by defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan gave up more big plays than they created. Tampa Bay’s defensive ends lost contain on a number of Cam Newton’s scrambles.
• Bucs punt returner Eric Page muffed a punt and lost possession at the Tampa Bay 29 in the third quarter.
WHAT’S UP NEXT FOR THE BUCS?Tampa Bay (0-7) travels to Seattle to play the Seahawks (6-1). Kickoff is set for 4:05 p.m. ET and the game will be televised locally.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd 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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