True to his “Riverboat Ron” moniker, Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera got went for it on fourth-and-inches, with quarterback Cam Newton leaping over the goal line to give Carolina an 11-point lead just before halftime.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis knocked the ball loose from Newton’s hands but it had already crossed the goal line.
Newton was 10 of 19 for 124 passing yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He accounted for 60 yards on the ground.
Newton’s other score came on a 16-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell, who slipped passed safety Dashon Goldson. The play was set up by a 56-yard scramble by Newton in which Goldson made the stop.
Newton eyed LaFell on third-and-10, but instead was picked off by Bucs safety Keith Tandy, which set up a 53-yard field goal by kicker Rian Lindell.
Lindell hit a 27-yarder on the opening drive.
The Bucs had an opportunity for seven after quarterback Mike Glennon airmailed a 60-yarder to Vincent Jackson on a go-route, with Jackson falling just short of the goal line.
On first down, Bobby Rainey attempted an inside run up the gut but was stuffed for no gain. On second down, Glennon attempted to hit Tiquan Underwood in the corner of the end zone with the ball slipping through his hands.
Then on third down, Glennon attempted to escape the pressure but was sacked for a 13-yard loss and fumbled the football. It was recovered by defensive tackle Dwan Edwards.
Glennon finished the first half 8 of 11 for 124 passing yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions.