Last time the Carolina Panthers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took the field against each other in 2018, the Bucs were not running the ball nearly as much as now. The past few weeks, the game has been more balanced on the offensive side of the ball for Tampa Bay. While at the beginning of season many expected the feature back to be Ronald Jones, Peyton Barber has yet again been the bell-cow when the Bucs move the ball on the ground.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber career games against Carolina:
2016 week 4 : 3 att-6 yds
2016 week 16: 5 att-19 yds
2017 week 16: 13 att-51 yds
2018 week 9: 11 att-31 yds
Total: 32 attempts- 107 yards
Run the football
While Barber has not been effective against the Panthers by the numbers over his career, his presence has only helped the offense when he is on the field. Even when Barber is ineffective, when he has over 10 carries since he has come into the league, the team is 8-11. When you look at the overall record in the past 3 seasons (18-24) the winning percentage is about equal. However, when Barber has a touchdown the team winning percentage is 50% (3-3). While this is a small sample size of games, the numbers show some sort of proof. Running the football helps the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win games.
This especially showed the past two weeks since Winston has been back. In the past two weeks, Barber has rushed 36 times for 153 yards. That equals out to 4.25 yards per carry. He also has two touchdowns in the past 120 minutes of football as well. The team certainly should have won the New York Giants game. For some odd reason the defense couldn’t seem to stop Old Man Eli and Saquon Barkley. However, when the defense put together a NFL standard performance last Sunday, they won. Against the San Francisco 49ers, Barber’s running game took a toll on the San Francisco defense. This allowed Jameis to play within the confines of the system and not take unnecessary risks. The result? One of the best games of his professional career.
This was the first game that Jameis had multiple touchdowns and no interceptions since 2016, and there is no doubt that Barber making yardage reasonable in third down situations was huge for this Bucs offense. This opened up a plethora of options for the offense, as checkdowns were enough to move the chains consistently. This also set up play action for the offense and didn’t allow the defense to drop huge amounts of defenders into coverage and force Jameis to make mistakes.
Outlook for Carolina Panthers Game:
Barber certainly will benefit from getting an increased amount of carries since the first time the two teams matched up in week nine. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers should look to get the ground game going and the offense should benefit from this increased workload for Barber. He has always been an effort runner and usually plays better with a heavy workload. I would look for Barber to put up similar numbers to his game against New York this week against the Panthers. The Panthers are 1-4 on the road which bodes well for Tampa. Hopefully, Sunday includes an all expenses paid trip into the end zone.
Projection: 15 attempts-75 yards-1 touchdown