TAMPA, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to make the most of what is left of their season and hit the ground running against the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium Sunday.
Within the first five minutes of the first quarter the Buccaneers got on the board with James Winston’s three-yard touchdown pass to Adam Humphries followed by Cairo Santos’ 35-yard field goal after Andrew Adams intercepted a Carolina pass intended for D.J. Moorea nd carried it for 16 yards, quickly making the score 10-0.
Not to be shown up, Carolina got their first touchdown with roughly four minutes left in the quarter with Cam Newton’s eight-yard pass to Christian McCaffrey, shrinking Tampa’s lead to three.
With under two minutes left in the first half, Tampa got a second interception courtesy of Javien Elliott, who would’ve run the ball all the way for a touchdown if not for the cluster of teammates ahead of him blocking the Carolina defense. He was forced out of bounds, but he was able to run the ball 50 yards.
The Bucs closed out the possession with a clutch 13-yard touchdown catch by Chris Godwin, making the score 17-7 at halftime. That touchdown marked Jameis Winston’s 81st touchdown pass, giving him the most touchdown passes in Buccaneers franchise history.
The Buccaneers were able to hold the Panthers to 39 passing yards and 112 rushing yards with no third down conversions in the first half. The Bucs were 57% on third downs, with 70 rushing yards and 137 passing, and two interceptions on Carolina under their belt. Winston was 12 for 16 on pass completions while Cam Newton was 6 for 10. Buccaneers’ Lavonte David and Kevin Minter each got a sack on Newton in the first half as well.
The Panthers got on the board again early in the third quarter. Their touchdown pass was nullified by a holding penalty and they instead kicked a 37-yard field goal on the third down. Newton’s third sack of the game came during that possession too, courtesy of Tampa’s Vinny Curry. The new score was 17-10 with ten minutes left in the quarter.
The Buccaneers scored on their next possession too, after Winston made a deep 52-yard pass which was made incomplete but redeemed by a Carolina holding penalty in the red zone. Peyton Barber then scrambled up the middle one yard for the touchdown, making the score 24-10.
Despite the Bucs defense, the Panthers managed to score on their next drive with a ten-yard touchdown pass to Devin Funchess, reducing Tampa’s lead to seven, 24-17.
The Bucs nabbed their fourth pick on Carolina via Andrew Adams in the fourth quarter, his second of the game. The pass was intended for Funchess.
With 5:11 left in the game, Adams got his third pick, nabbing a pass intended for Curtis Samuel and carried it five yards to 1st and 10 on the Buccaneers 19 yard line.
With little over two minutes left in the game, Jason Pierre-Paul got the Bucs’ fourth sack on Newton.
Neither team was able to score again, making the final score 24-17, Tampa Bay.
The Buccaneers next host the New Orleans Saints Sunday, December 9, 2018 at 1pm EST.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org