Carolina Panthers Deny Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-14


The Carolina Panthers went down to Tampa Bay for their first game of the NFL season. Soon, the worst fears of some Panthers fans were realized as Cam Newton was in street clothes. However, the Carolina Panthers did not appear to miss a beat under backup Derek Anderson. They used uncharacteristic turnovers by Josh McCown to build a 17-0 lead.

Tampa attempted a late comeback to bring the score to 17-14, but linebacker Luke Kuechly stripped the backup Tampa running back Rainey and the Panthers recovered. Graham Gano pushed the score to 20-14 with one last field goal. Tampa could not find any juice on a final drive and the game ended.

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1.You said Doug Martin was a big deal. What happened?

Martin was stopped by the dominant Panthers front seven. He was also hurt through parts of the game and kept on the sideline at times. This result of 9 carries for 8 yards for Martin is very much to the credit of the Panther defense, not a knock on Doug Martin. With Martin stopped, McCown went into gunslinger mode for some reason with bad results.

2.Derek Anderson earned his pay check this week

Anderson moved from the clipboard to the field as if this was all normal. Offensive coordinator Mike Shula did not spare him either. Anderson went 24 for 34, a 70% completion percentage. Shula did not just sit back and tell Anderson to hand the ball off the whole game like some people thought he might. He also got good protection from the line, only being sacked once.

Sep 7, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (13) catches the ball for a touchdown as Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Mike Jenkins (24) as he was called for defensive pass interference during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Carolina Panthers defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-14. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

3.Kelvin Benjamin is here, now

Fantasy owners take note, the rookie wideout was good for 6 catches, 92 yards, and a touchdown. The touchdown was especially impressive as Tampa Bay defender Mike Jenkins was flagged for interference against Benjamin on the play. Benjamin reached over Jenkins and caught the ball to make the score 17-0.

4.The defense is still good

The Panthers got contributions all over the defense as they stopped Martin and pressured McCown all day. There were three sacks by defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, defensive end Greg Hardy, and linebacker Luke Kuechly. Antoine Cason had an interesting line. The corner had nine tackles and an interception. Other newcomer Roman Harper picked a desperation ball from McCown.

5.There were no Giveaways
The Panthers may have needed a clean sheet without Newton and they got it. Gano did miss a field goal later in the game, but no picks from Anderson and no lost fumbles from anyone else. Meanwhile the Panthers took the ball from Tampa on three different occasions.

PS- Hey, FOX, don’t let Ronde Barber call any more Tampa Bay games. Thanks!

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