The Buccaneers and Panthers will face off for the second time this season. This game is the Buccaneers home game but of course it will be in England. Historically, the Buccaneers have not done well in England. The previous game between these teams came down to the last play of the game. The Panthers failed to convert on fourth down which essentially guaranteed the Buccaneers the win. Since then the Panthers have won three straight and the Buccaneer’s have only won once.
The Buccaneers brutal stretch of road games has been widely discussed by fans and media members. Tampa Bay started the long road trip with a win in Los Angeles, then lost to the Saints in New Orleans. Sitting at 2-3 this will be a crucial game for the Buccaneers, who would much rather go into the bye week 3-3 rather than 2-4. The Panthers have been winning with quarterback Kyle Allen who has been playing exceptionally since replacing Cam Newton. It could be a tall order to ask the struggling Buccaneers secondary to defend against Christian McCaffrey and Kyle Allen.
On the very first play of the game Jameis Winston threw an interception. Not ideal. Winston struggled through the entire game, especially the first half. Winston finished the first half with two interceptions, two fumbles and one fumble lost. While Winston struggled mightily he was not helped by his offensive line. Winston was sacked six times in the first half. Gerald McCoy got two of those sacks.
Winston’s worst turnover of the day came in the second half when he threw a dart directly into Luke Kuechly’s chest. Kuechly returned the interception to the eight yard line, setting up the offense for an easy touchdown. That touchdown made it 27-7 and essentially put the game out of reach.
Carolina takes advantage
Winston’s first pick of the game put Carolina in the red zone. Miraculously the Buccaneers defense held the Panthers to a field goal. Former Buccaneer Javien Elliot came up with the second interception of the day. This time Carolina took it right down the field and scored a touchdown, which gave Carolina a two score lead. Winston’s fumble didn’t lead to Carolina points but it did take away any chance for Tampa to score and they were knocking on the door.
Carolina clearly had a game plan to take advantage of the struggling secondary. The usually run first team came out throwing and it worked. Vernon Hargreaves and Cartlon Davis struggled in pass defense all day. Kyle Allen had one of his best days a starter with over 200 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers. The Panthers offense was aggressive and took advantage of the struggling defense. For the second straight week Shaq Barrett has been a non factor. After starting the season on an insane pace he has gone cold and the defense looks much different without his heroics.
Struggling in all Phases
The Buccaneers ended the day with seven turnovers. Winston gave up five interceptions and a fumble. In the fourth quarter with the game slipping away Bobo Wilson couldn’t handle a punt and Carolina recovered it. The defense failed to produce a turnover against the Panthers. Tampa Bay also committed nine penalties for 70 yards, while Carolina only committed 3 for 30 yards.
Perhaps one of the oddest things you’ll see in sports this weekend came at the end of the half when Carolina attempted a free kick. An obscure rule in football allowed the Panthers to attempt a field goal with no pressure from the Buccaneers known as a free kick. Joey Slye missed the kick but it made for an interesting moment in a game being played across the pond.
Too Little Too Late
The Buccaners offense finally found some rhythm in the second half and began climbing back into the game. Tampa pulled all they back within 11 points but ultimately they dug a whole too big to climb out off. Winston ultimately threw his fourth and fifth interceptions of the day to seal the Buccaneers fate.
Tampa Bay begins their bye week. Their next game will be October 27th against the Tennessee Titans.
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