The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came to Carolina looking to avenge a 31-13 loss from earlier this season, and instead were stifled again by the Panthers, who extended a winning streak to a franchise-record eight-in-a-row with a 27-6 domination of the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay’s defense had no answers once again for Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who went 18 of 29 for 263 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He rushed for 68 yards, including a 56-yard scramble on Carolina’s second possession, resulting in a16-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell.
Newton added a third touchdown on the ground just before halftime on a one-yard dive over the goal line, giving the Panthers an 11-point lead, something Carolina did not surrender the entire game, with the exception of a field goal from Rian Lindell on Tampa Bay’s opening possession.
Lindell contributed another field goal from 53 yards out in the first quarter but missed a 48-yard attempt in the third, providing little help for an ailing offense that was stifled by the league’s top-rated defense.
Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon was sacked five times, including one that caused a fumble on third-and-4 at the Carolina 4, negating a stunning 60-yard completion to Vincent Jackson moments before. He finished 14 of 21 for 180 passing yards, zero touchdowns and an interception.
At the beginning of the second half, on second-and-1, Glennon attempted to hit Jackson on a deep pass but was picked off by Panthers safety Mike Mitchell at the Carolina 21. Newton then found tight end Greg Olsen on a screen pass for a 28-yard pickup.
On first-and-10 at the Tampa Bay 36, Newton hit Ted Ginn Jr. on a stop-and-go route along the sideline for a 36-yard touchdown in which Ginn beat cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Revis nearly picked off Newton with 5:37 remaining in the third after he broke up a pass intended for receiver Steve Smith. Revis dropped the ball and fell hard to the ground, leaving the game with injuries to his shoulder and chest, according to team officials.
He was replaced by Danny Gorrer and did not return.
Smith finished with three catches for 51 receiving yards. Olsen, who caught a 1-yard touchdown in the previous meeting between these two teams, finished with five catches for 85 yards.
Newton’s two picks were on passes intended for LaFell, who finished with three catches on seven targets for 36 yards and a touchdown.
The first pick came on third-and-10 at the Carolina 28, when safety Keith Tandy caught a tipped pass at the Tampa Bay 48 and returned it 20 yards to the Carolina 32, setting up Lindell’s 53-yard kick after Glennon’s 7-yard pass to Tim Wright fell well short of the first down marker on third-and-20.
The second came in the third quarter from Lavonte David at the Tampa Bay 11. The Bucs would go three-and-out on the ensuing possession after Glennon was sacked for a 7-yard loss.
David finished with nine combined tackles, a tackle for a loss, a pick and a pass breakup. Safety Mark Barron led the team with 10 combined tackles.
With his third-quarter interception, Lavonte David became the first Bucs linebacker since Derrick Brooks in 2006 to have three interceptions in a season and the first Buccaneer ever to record five sacks and three interceptions in the same season … With his third-quarter pick, Mike Glennon’s streak of games without an interception ended at two. Through three games and 10 quarters, Glennon, who was named rookie of the month for November, had 55 straight passing attempts without an interception … Panthers DT Dwan Edwards suffered a leg injury and did not return …. CB Darrelle Revis left the game with a shoulder and chest injury and did not return … With 51 receiving yards, Panthers WR Steve Smith passed Hines Ward for 20th on the NFL’s all-time receiving yards list … For the 20th time in QB Cam Newton‘s career, he finished with at least one passing and one rushing touchdown … The Panthers were without their top running back, DeAngelo Williams, who suffered quad strain and was ruled inactive before the game. DE Charles Johnson also missed the game with a knee injury … The Bucs allowed a season-high 5 sacks. The last time the offensive line gave up 5 sacks was last year in a 28-13 loss to the Rams.