Bucs started the match slowly, fumbling the ball on the first possession and allowing the hosts to score on the next drive. That boosted the morale of the feisty hosts, led by Teddy Bridgewater, who opened the contest with 12 straight completions.
The halftime score was 17-all, with the note that Carolina played its best football, while on the other side, the Buccaneers stayed on 50% of their capabilities. However, it seems that Bruce Arians woke up his guys during the break, and they come out roaring, outscoring the home team 12-0 in the third period and 17-6 in the final period.
Ronald Jones, the second posted a 98-yard rushing touchdown, becoming the franchise record-holder and the fourth player ever in the history who had 98 or more yards ran during a score. This happened during the middle of the third period and was a definite game-changer. After this, there was no way for the home team to recover and regain its morale.
Furthermore, Teddy Bridgewater picked up a knee injury in the final quarter, having to leave the field and undergo medical evaluations. The Panthers’ QB had 136 yards for two touchdowns and one pick and ran for one TD. PJ Walker replaced him, adding 12 yards in two completions.
The biggest problem in Carolina’s game was rushing, with Mike Davis collecting 32 yards on seven carriers and the entire team yielding 65 yards. DJ Moore was good with 96 receiving yards in four carries, recording a TD. Colin Thompson also caught one pass for a TD.
Tom Brady had no problems for the Bucs, throwing for 341 yards and three TD passes. It was easy for him to orchestrate the offense with fantastic Jones in the backfield. In the end, Tampa Bay’s RB had 192 yards and one touchdown.
Chris Godwin had 6 receptions for 92 yards, Mike Evans, the same number for 72, and a TD. Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate added one TD each, while Antonio Brown had seven catches for 69 yards and was looking pretty solid.
Tampa Bay (7-3) has two very tough games, but both at home. The first is against the LA Rams, and the second vs. the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Panters (3-7) host the Lions next week and then travel to Minnesota.