Panthers control free-falling Buccaneers, 17-3

Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Carolina Panthers knock off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon in Week 8, 17-3. Here are all the highlights, the game recap and final score.

In a gotta-have-it game in NFC South play, the Carolina Panthers went in to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa and came away with a victory over the rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 17-3. Carolina improves to 5-3 on the year, while Tampa Bay sinks to 2-5 on the season.

After getting embarrassed last week versus the Chicago Bears, the Panthers certainly played their brand of physical football. It translated marvelously against a Buccaneers team that is in complete free-fall. Carolina stays in the NFC South race, while Tampa Bay is now likely out of it. The Buccaneers are now three wins back of all three of their rivals in divisional play.

Carolina got on the board first with a one-yard leaping touchdown by running back Jonathan Stewart. His over-the-top play was Carolina’s first rushing touchdown by a non-quarterback this season. The Panthers would take a 10-0 lead into halftime thanks to a Graham Gano field goal.

Tampa Bay would manage just one field goal worth of offense at home on Sunday. Quarterback Jameis Winston was perplexed by the strong defense of Carolina. In year three out of Florida State, Winston is not progressing under head coach Dirk Koetter like many had hoped for. It looks like Tampa Bay will miss the NFC playoffs for the 10th straight season.

Carolina should feel good about this win, but is still a long way away from what it was two years ago as a football team. The running game is still not great for the Panthers. It is the driving force of the Panthers’ offense, as quarterback Cam Newton is never going to be a precision passer in the NFL.

However with a great defense backing him up, Newton can lead Carolina to 10 wins this season, a playoff berth and its fourth division crown in five years. Tampa Bay supposedly has all the offensive weapons in the world, but has one of the worst offenses in football.

The Buccaneers might have won over our hearts this summer during HBO’s Hard Knocks, but Tampa Bay is quickly losing grip on their once promising season. Tampa Bay has lost four games in a row and is rapidly looking like one of the worst teams in the NFC. The Buccaneers needed this game, but came up two touchdowns short.


Three Stars

  1. Luke Kuechly: Kuechly had eight tackles, six solo, one for a loss of yardage and an interception of Winston.
  2. Jonathan Stewart: Stewart had 11 carries for 34 yards and a touchdown.
  3. Cam Newton: Newton completed 18 of 32 passes for 154 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also carried the ball 11 times for 44 yards.

Next Game

Carolina will host their division rival in the Atlanta Falcons next week. Kickoff from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte will be at 1:00 p.m. ET on Nov. 5. FOX will have the early afternoon telecast.

Tampa Bay will have to go on the road for its Week 9. The Buccaneers will also play an NFC South rival in the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 5. Kickoff from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans will be at 1:00 p.m. ET. FOX will have the early afternoon telecast.

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