Week two of the NFL season is upon us and this Thursday the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face a familiar foe. NFC South rival, Carolina Panthers, will be hosting the Buccaneers in the Thursday Night Football game on primetime. Let us take a look into the past while getting ready for the future, against the Panthers.
The Carolina Panthers have a nine-game overall lead on the Buccaneers in head to head matchups. They own a 23-14 overall record against Tampa Bay, by far the least amount of wins Tampa has won against any NFC South opponent. Last season the teams split the two games with each team winning at home.
Since coming into the league in 2011, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton has compiled a record of 11-5 against the Buccaneers. He has been a true thorn in the side of Tampa Bay teams and fans alike. Let us take a look back at one of the few times he has been truly uncomfortable against Tampa Bay.
Week 13 of the 2018 Season
In this late-season game we saw the 5-7 Buccaneers taking on the 6-6 Panthers in what ended up being a disappointing season for both teams. This was the second matchup between the teams for the season as the Panthers won the first game in Carolina, 42-28.
The Buccaneers got off to a hot start in this one with an 11 play drive that ended in a 3-yard touchdown from wide receiver Adam Humphries. That touchdown catch ended up being his last as a Buccaneer.
On the following drive, the Buccaneers made Newton uncomfortable as they sacked him for a loss of eight on second down. The next play the fun started for safety Andrew Adams. Adams caught his first interception off a pass that was deflected off of Carolina receiver D.J. Moore.
With a short field quarterback, Jamies Winston led a short drive that ended in a Cairo Santos field goal giving the Buccaneers a 10-0 lead.
The ensuing drive from Carolina didn’t go as well for the Buccaneers defense as Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey exploded for a 53-yard run. That run, as well as a Tampa penalty aided in the drive ending in a eight-yard catch for Mccaffrey.
Tampa Bay and Carolina then proceeded to exchange punts and turnovers throughout the second quarter. Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber coughed up the ball in the end zone but the Panthers could not capitalize on the mistake.
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Cam Newtons Struggles
After the Buccaneers struggled to get anything going, they had to punt again. On the next drive, the Panthers started to roll with four first downs in five plays. Cam Newton had it going on the ground and through the air. With the Panthers facing second and ten, Cam Newton threw an ill-advised throw that Buccaneers cornerback Javien Elliot picked off. The ball was returned 50 yards the other way giving Winston and company the ball at the Carolina 32 yard line.
The turnover gave the Buccaneers offense a chance to grow their lead before halftime. Facing a third and eleven Jameis Winston scrambled to his right and fired a pass the corner of the end zone, finding receiver Chris Godwin. The score gave the Buccaneers a 17-7 lead going into the second half.
Cam Newton got his offense going in the third quarter as they finally sustained a long drive. After nine plays Carolina kicked a field goal to bring the Tampa lead to a touchdown. The Buccaneers answered with a scoring drive of their own going 75 yards in eight plays. Peyton Barber capped off the drive with a one-yard plunge that put Tampa up two scores.
With Tampa Bay up two touchdowns, Cam Newton came out hot on his next drive. he accounted for 71 all-purpose yards on the drive that ended with a touchdown pass to wide receiver Devin Funchess.
Hanging on to a seven-point lead, the Buccaneers offense needed points badly. Nine plays later the offense stalled, and after an offensive pass interference, they punted. Giving the ball back to a suddenly hot Panthers offense was not ideal. Buccaneer fans have seen this before, with Cam Newton winning 11 of the last 15 matchups.
This time the Buccaneers defense made a play.
The Andrew Adams Game
With Newton driving this offense down the field, after a big gain from receiver Curtis Samuel, Tampa brought pressure. On first and ten Newton threw the ball while taking a hit from defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. The ball floated just a bit too long and safety Andrew Adams made an athletic play on the sideline and got his second pick of the game.
With the Tampa Bay offense stalling after five plays, they had to punt yet again. This gave Cam another shot at tying the game. Yet again, the Panthers offense came out explosive and got down to the Tampa Bay 32 yard line.
On second and five, Cam Newton took the snap and had immediate pressure in his face. Gerald McCoy and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul were on him when he fired a pass down the middle towards Curtis Samuel. Safety Andrew Adams was in coverage, and in what is his best game as a pro, picked off Newton for the third time. This brought the total to four interceptions on the day for the Buccaneers defense.
Tampa Bay came back on the field and had a quick three and out. Carolina got the ball back and again drove into Tampa territory but the drive ended on downs.
The Buccaneers had one more shot to run the clock out and end the game but couldn’t pick up the first down. Punting the ball back with 1:05 left on the clock the Buccaneers had their chance to beat Newton for just the fifth time.
With no timeouts, the Panthers couldn’t do much besides a couple of dump off passes to gain a few yards. The quick passes helped them inch closer to a couple of Hail Mary attempts but in the end the Buccaneers prevailed.
Buccaneers win 24-17.
Hopefully, in 2019 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can get back on track and get closer to evening the series between these two teams.