BLOG: Panthers, Cam Look to Right the Ship at Tampa Bay

Week 8

Carolina Panthers (4-3) Vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4)

Raymond James Stadium, 1 p.m.

Here's a look at the Panthers' big win in photos:

The Panthers have three or more sacks in five games this year. They also gave up just three points on offense for the second-straight week. The four road wins this season are most in the league.

Panthers improve to 5-3 with the win and Tampa drops to 2-5. Kuechly had a huge day in his first game back from injury.

Bucs fail to convert on fourth and 14 and that should do it with 2:31 left.

Kuechly has six tackles and an interception today. Panthers are winning the turnover battle and have gotten a couple of nice drives and that's all they've needed on a banner defensive day. 

Luke Kuechly with the interception on third down and that could do it with the Panthers up 17-3 with 6:04 left. Panthers now have three takeaways, two interceptions and a fumble.

Kelvin Benjamin with a great catch in the corner of the end zone on a lob from Newton. Panthers now in control up 17-3 with 8:48 to go. Good teams turn turnovers into points and Panthers have to do that to be succesful. 

Captain Munnerlyn made the hit on Winston to affect the throw and cause the throw to be off the mark.

A deflected pass is popped up in the air and intercepted by Mike Adams. Panthers get their second takeaway of the day and will have the ball at midfield with 11:32 left in the game. 

Now the Bucs are driving after a first-down pass to Desean Jackson. Neither QB has played especially well in a defensive struggle.

Big defensive stop there with Tampa deep in its own territory. Bucs punt to the Panthers 45 and Carolina takes over there.

Patrick Murray makes good on a 41-yard field goal and Tampa is on the board. 10-3 Carolina with 4:49 left in the third quarter.

Daryl Worley with a big pass breakup on what could have been a huge play. Tampa's Doug Martin with a big run the next play. 17 yards.

Panthers giving Bucs openings to get back into this game, but they won't take them. One of the better defensive performances from Carolina today.

Cam throws an interception and Bucs take over at their own 36.

HALFTIME: Panthers 10, Buccaneers 0 - A good defensive effort has been the Panthers' guiding light for this 10-0 lead. Carolina has forced one turnover and only allowed six first downs and 108 yards. Tampa's penalities (5 for 45 yards) have been damaging as well. Newton was sacked five times last week, but hasn't faced the same pressure today.

After a short pass, it's imcomplete on third and six. Graham Gano kicks the short field goal and it's 10-0 Panthers.

McCaffrey is on fire this drive, with a big third down conversion. He's had no problem getting open and the Panthers are in the red zone. 

Carolina comes out of the 2-minute warning and gets a first down on a pass to McCaffrey. Another pass to McCaffrey, who has three catches now for 33 yards.

Winston misfires on two throws that drive and Carolina got solid pressure on Winston both times. 

Newton goes deep for Funchess and it's incomplete. Looked like a tough throw to make in double coverage. Newton now 6 for 13 passing. 

Nice move by rookie Curtis Samuel on the end around to avoid a tackle for loss and get a first down.

Julius Peppers gets credit for the sack on that play, the 151st of his career. The 37-year-old now has 7.5 for the season.

Panthers recover a fumble, Winston's 8th fumble of the season. Kurt Coleman with the recovery for a big takeaway. 5:42 left in the half for Carolina to take command. Bucs continue to shoot themselves in the foot.

Penalties hurting Tampa. An illegal hands to the face penalty pushes them back 10 yards. Then a false start knocks them back further and causes a 1st and 25.

Winston finds Cameron Brate open for a first down on third and long. Bucs with their first sustained drive of the game. 

Kuechly with a big tackle on Tampa tight end OJ Howard there to keep it a 10-yard gain. 

Panthers forced to punt after a Benjamin offensive pass interference penalty costs them yardage. Newton is 5 for 11 for 56 yards. Not a great stat line, but made several big plays on a 17-play scoring drive earlier. Panthers were 5 of 5 on third down that drive.

Stewart with a big run on first down at the 2 to get the Panthers out of jail. 11 yards to the Tampa 13.

A holding call gives the Bucs a big hole they can't climb out of and they have to punt. Good special teams play after a good punt gives Carolina the ball at its own 1-yard-line.

Thomas Davis with a big hit on Tampa receiver Adam Humphries and gets a flag for unnecessary roughness. He's not happy with the call as it gives Tampa 15 yards and a first down at the 50 instead of third and long. 

END OF THE FIRST QUARTER: Panthers 7, Buccaneers 0

Winston misfires on what could have been a big play for the Bucs. Panthers catch a break.

Stewart dives from a yard out and touchdown Panthers! The Panthers offensive line got a strong push and Stewart cleared the goal line. Extra point is good and it's 7-0 Panthers. Stewart's first touchdown of the season comes on the longest drive of the season from Carolina.

Cameron Artis-Payne finds a hole for a big run and it's first and goal. Panthers in prime position to score here.

Panthers convert another third down on a play action pass to Ed Dickson. Panthers in the red zone.

Russell Shepard, the former Tampa player, is looming over the middle underneath the defense and Newton finds him for another first down. Panthers 3 of 4 on third down so far. Newton lucky the next throw wasn't picked off by Vernon Hargreaves.

Panthers picked up the blitz on third down and Newton finds Christian McCaffrey over the middle for a first down throw. 14-yard gain.

The Panthers have gone 14 straight drives without a touchdown. They get a first down here on third and 1 after Newton sneaks it.

Mike Evans drops a low throw on a slant and the Panthers get the ball back inside their own 20.

Winston gets his first completion and Doug Martin breaks a tackle at the line of scrimmage and runs for a first down.

Panthers go three and out after a sideline throw to Kelvin Benjamin is wide. Bucs get the ball at their own 15.

Cam Newton goes down on the first play for a short gain. Newton was sacked five times last week. Can't have that again today.

Panthers force a three and out on Tampa's first possession of the game. Jameis Winston misfired on two throws after a Panthers penalty gave Tampa 1st and 5. Panthers take over at their own 33.

Projected starters for the Panthers and Bucs:

Here's some pregame pictures from USA TODAY Sports Images:

Some pregame injury updates from Panthers beat reporter Jourdan Rodrigue: 

Pregame Notes

  • The Panthers dropped their first road game of the season last week during a forgettable trip to Chicago where the Bears used two defensive touchdowns to guide a 17-3 victory. Despite having possession for 38:35 and only allowing five first downs, the Panthers only managed one field goal.  
  • The loss, coupled with New Orleans' win against Green Bay, dropped the Panthers into second place in the NFC South and pushed the Saints into first.
  • Linebacker Luke Kuechly will start today after being cleared from concussion protocol. 
  • It was a rough game for Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who threw two interceptions, fumbled once and was sacked five times. Newton's week was rough too, as it featured another clash with media during a press conference. When Newton was asked about the lack of chunk yardage his offense is generating this season, Newton said “next question” and then abruptly ended his presser, storming off the stage.
  • The Panthers did get four sacks to bring their season total to 24. Carolina is currently tied for second in the league in sacks and third in yards allowed per game.
  • Tampa Bay has now lost three straight after falling to Buffalo 30-27. The Bills scored 10 points in the final minutes to pull out the win. 

© 2017 WFMY-TV


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