WHAT HAPPENED IN TAMPA BAY’S 27-6 LOSS at CAROLINAIt was a tale of two quarterbacks in Carolina as the Panthers beat the Buccaneers, 27-6, with both Cam Newton and Mike Glennon committing two turnovers. Yet Newton also accounting for three touchdowns, while Glennon was held without a touchdown pass for the first time in his brief NFL career, and that was the difference for the hottest team in the league.
“Obviously made too many mistakes both as coaches and players to have an opportunity to win that game,” Bucs head coach Greg Schiano said. “That’s a good football team in Carolina. Early in the game we had plenty of opportunities to make it a good football game, but we did not capitalize and they did. Coaching and playing – this was a team loss, top to bottom, starting with me. We have to figure out how we’re going to get back to doing some of these things the way we were doing them successfully. My hat’s off to Carolina. They had something to do with it for sure.”
Just like he did in Carolina’s 31-13 win at Tampa Bay earlier this season, Newton beat the Bucs with his legs and his arm. Newton completed 18-of-29 passes for 263 yards with two touchdowns, while rushing for 68 yards, including a 56-yard scramble in the first quarter to set up a touchdown.
“You had Cam’s long run, which he’s done to a lot of people,” Schiano said. “But make it a 20-yard run, not a 50- or 60-yard run. Get him on the ground.”
One of the turning points in the game was Carolina, which set a franchise record with its eighth straight win, going for it on fourth-and-goal from the Tampa Bay 1 right before the end of the first half and Newton scoring on a 1-yard touchdown leap. That gave the Panthers a 17-6 lead at halftime.
Glennon, who completed 14-of-21 passes for 180 yards, fumbled the ball on third-and-6 inside the red zone in the second quarter when the ball slipped out of his hands and the Panthers recovered at their own 19-yard. In the third quarter, he threw an interception on a pass intended for Vincent Jackson, who had three catches for 75 yards, including a 60-yarder.
“The ball slipped out of my hands,” Glennon said. “It really hurt us because we would have gotten at least three points in that situation. The second one, I was probably trying to make a play. I should have thrown it away, but those are situations I’ll learn from and be better because of it.”
When asked if Glennon had taken a step back in Carolina, Schiano didn’t think so.
“It wasn’t a step back so much as it was he looked more like a rookie than he’s looked,” Schiano said. “The ball slips out of his hands going to the left. It’s an awkward deal and unfortunate, but it happens. The throw to Vince that gets intercepted, and the flag gets picked up on that play, it didn’t come off his hand clean.”
The Bucs lost the line of scrimmage to the Panthers, as Tampa Bay rushed for just 66 yards on 20 carries (3.3 avg.), while Carolina logged 163 yards on 34 carries (4.8 avg.), led by Newton’s 68 yards. Mike Tolbert had 48 yards on nine carries, while Jonathan Stewart had 33 yards on 13 carries.
“We didn’t tackle,” Schiano said. “That’s not the way we play defense. We didn’t tackled the way we [usually do]. I don’t know why. As the head coach, I didn’t get us to tackle the way we’re capable of, whether that’s emotion or technical stuff.”
Tampa Bay’s tackling was atrocious, while Carolina’s tackling was crisp and precise as the Panthers defense dominated. Bucs running back Bobby Rainey was held in check outside of a couple runs, and totaled 63 yards on 17 carries.
“Offensively, we had trouble handling their front,” Schiano said. “At the beginning of the second half we found our stride a little bit running the football, but after a turnover we got to a point where we had to throw it to stay in the football game, and that made it one-dimensional.”
Carolina registered five sacks of Glennon, while Tampa Bay failed to get to Newton once. Panthers defensive end Wes Horton, who played in place of the injured Charles Johnson, led the way with two sacks.
“You have to give credit to that defense,” Glennon said. “They’re one of the best defenses in the league and they played like it today. They stopped our run game and did a good job against our pass game. They played better than us.”
Tampa Bay was a woeful 1-of-10 on third downs, largely due to its inability to run the ball well on first and second down.
“To say we struggled on third down would be an understatement,” Schiano said. “It didn’t feel like there was a lot of people open. You’re not going to have a long time to get open against that front. If you don’t get open fast we’re going to have a problem.”
While Bucs cornerback Darrelle Revis played despite a sore groin, he left the game in the third quarter with a shoulder and chest injury after dropping an interception and did not return. Revis surrendered a 36-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn in the third quarter that increased the Panthers’ lead to 24-6.
Tampa Bay’s three-game winning streak comes to an end, but the Bucs have a chance to start a new one next Sunday as they return home to host the Buffalo Bills.
HOW DID THE TEAMS SCORE? – BUCS vs. PANTHERS SCORING SERIESFirst Quarter – Buccaneers 3, Panthers 0Tampa Bay got on the scoreboard first after rookie quarterback Mike Glennon completed 4-of-4 passes for 46 yards on the Bucs’ first series. Tiquan Underwood had two catches for 39 yards, including a 23-yarder. Running back Bobby Rainey had 13 yards on two carries, but the Bucs had to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Rian Lindell after the drive stalled inside the red zone.
First Quarter – Panthers 7, Buccaneers 3After a 57-yard scramble up the middle and down the left sidelines by quarterback Cam Newton, the Panthers scored a touchdown two plays later when Newton found a wide-open Brandon LaFell in the back of the end zone. That score gave Carolina a 7-3 lead in the first quarter.
First Quarter – Panthers 7, Buccaneers 6Bucs free safety Keith Tandy intercepted Newton and set up Tampa Bay at the Carolina 32. But after a 10-yard holding penalty on Vincent Jackson, the Bucs had to settle for a 53-yard field goal to cut Carolina’s lead to 7-6.
Second Quarter – Panthers 10, Buccaneers 6Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith caught a 16-yard pass prior to LaFell catching an 11-yard strike from Newton. Newton hit running back Mike Tolbert with a 14-yard pass before he ran for a 17-yard gain down to the Tampa Bay 22. On third-and-7, Panthers tight end Greg Olsen caught a 10-yard pass down to the Tampa Bay 9. But the drive stalled at the 5-yard line and Carolina had to settle for a 23-yard Graham Gano field goal.
Second Quarter – Panthers 17, Buccaneers 6Newton hit Ted Ginn for a gain of 11 yards before hitting Olsen with a 30-yard gain down to the Tampa Bay 8. The Bucs defense stiffened, but on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line, Newton leaped into the end zone for a touchdown to boost Carolina’s lead to 17-6 with 25 seconds left before halftime.
Third Quarter – Panthers 24, Buccaneers 6After Mike Mitchell picked off Glennon, the Panthers took over at the Carolina 22. After a 12-yard pass to Tolbert, Newton hit Olsen with a 28-yard gain down to the Tampa Bay 36. On the next play, Newton hit Ginn with a 36-yard touchdown to put the Eagles up 24-6.
Fourth Quarter – Panthers 27, Buccaneers 6On third-and-1, Newton completed a 15-yard pass to Tolbert, before hitting Smith with an 18-yard pass on third-and-9 to move the chains down to the Tampa Bay 14. But the Panthers’ drive stalled at the Tampa Bay 5 and Carolina had to settle for a 22-yard field goal to increase its lead to 27-6.
WHAT WAS NOTABLE ABOUT SUNDAY’S GAME FOR THE BUCS?Tampa Bay free safety Keith Tandy recorded his third interception of his career when he picked off Cam Newton in the first quarter. Bucs weakside linebacker Lavonte David picked off Newton in the third quarter for his third interception of the season. Tandy and David are tied for first for Tampa Bay in interceptions. David, who was tied for the team lead with 10 with strong safety Mark Barron, became the first linebacker in team history to have five sacks and three interceptions in the same seasons. … Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon threw for 180 yards against the Panthers and became the team’s all-time leading rookie passer with 1,962 yards in 2013, surpassing Josh Freeman’s 1,855 yards in 2009. … Bucs kicker Rian Lindell kicked a season-long 53-yard field goal against Carolina. … Tampa Bay wide receiver Chris Owusu caught a career-long 20-yard pass against the Panthers.
WHICH BUCCANEERS WERE INACTIVE?The following Bucs were inactive against the Panthers: WR Skye Dawson, FB/RB Lonnie Pryor, SS Bradley McDougald, G Patrick Omameh, G Carl Nicks, DT Derek Landri and DE Steven Means.
The following Panthers were inactive against the Bucs: WR Tavarres King, WR Marvin McNutt, RB DeAngelo Williams, G Chris Scott, TE Ben Hartsock, LB Chase Blackburn and DE Charles Johnson.
WHICH BUCS GOT HURT?• Bucs cornerback Darrelle Revis got shaken up midway through the third quarter with a chest injury.
WHAT WILL UPSET GREG SCHIANO WHEN HE WATCHES THE FILM?• Tampa Bay’s pass rush didn’t do a good job of containing Cam Newton, who scrambled for a 56-yard run in the first quarter to set up a touchdown.
• Bucs free safety Dashon Goldson had a blown coverage on wide receiver Brandon LaFell, who was wide open and scored a touchdown catch in the first quarter.
• Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon had the ball slip out of his hands as he went to throw the ball in the second quarter in the red zone and that resulted in a fumble and no points for Tampa Bay. Glennon also threw a wobbly interception in the third quarter.
• Bucs cornerback Darrelle Revis bit on a double move by Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn, who scored on a 36-yard touchdown.
• Tampa Bay’s tackling was really bad in Carolina with the Panthers ballcarriers getting a lot of yards after contact.
• The Bucs offensive line had trouble opening up holes in the running game and protecting the quarterback.
WHAT’S UP NEXT FOR THE BUCS?Tampa Bay (3-9) returns home to Raymond James Stadium to play the Buffalo Bills (4-7) on December 8. Kickoff is set for 1:00 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: [email protected]
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