Panthers Get Over .500 In Thrashing Of Lowly Buccaneers
By Danny Cox
While it may not have been the prettiest game, the Carolina Panthers still looked efficient on both sides of the ball and got above .500 for the first time in a long time. They also managed to keep the Tampa Bay Buccaneers without a win and in the cellar of the NFC South with a record of 0-7.
The Panthers didn’t rack up giant numbers on offense and the defense wan’t overly aggressive, but there was enough done to win, and in big fashion.
Coach Ron Rivera knows what has been working the past few weeks and he stuck with it yet again to help lead Carolina to their third straight win. He is keeping a well-balanced attack on offense, but is spreading the wealth around in the rushing game while opening up short passes for Cam Newton.
Newton excelled in the passing game and on the ground as well while spreading the ball around. Defensively, the schemes worked for the hapless Buccaneers, but they’ll need to ramp it up a bit against stronger teams.
Newton is really doing well and coming about as a better pocket passer than that of a running quarterback. He completed 23 of 32 passes for only 221 yards, but he had two touchdown passes and a rating of 111.6. He also had 50 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown. That made it his ninth game with two passing TDs and one rushing TD since 2011.
That’s six better than Andrew Luck and Tom Brady, who both have three.
DeAngelo Williams still can’t get much rushing going, but then again he had only eight carries. Through the air, nine different players had a reception with Ted Ginn Jr. leading the way with five receptions for 80 yards.
One would say that the defense did its job, and it is true that they did. They held the Buccaneers to under 300 yards of total offense, sacked Mike Glennon three times, and held the Bucs to less than 50 yards total rushing. Still, they’ve got to be more aggressive and get after the ball. No turnovers against a sloppy Buccaneers team, and they need to put more out there.
Other than that, it was an all-around great game defensively for the Panthers and they are looking better and better. This makes six out of the last seven opponents held at 15 points or less.
Graham Gano had a slow night as far as field goals go, but he hit the one 29-yard attempt that he went out for.
Brad Nortman had a strong night as he punted five times for an average of 43.2 yards. He had three punts downed inside of the Tampa Bay 20 and a boomer of 49 yards.
Ted Ginn Jr. had two semi-decent kickoff returns and two short punt returns, but no real problems here. He does need to work on getting better starting field position for the Panthers though.
For more Carolina Panthers news and updates, visit Carolina Panthers Central.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.