When Cam Newton does an end zone dance in your stadium, it’s time to reevaluate your approach to football.
Panthers 31 – Bucs 13
Okay, props to Newton, who’s been on fire for Carolina the past few weeks. His numbers are insane.
On the other side of the field, Tampa rookie quarterback Mike Glennon is actually putting up solid numbers, too. He threw the ball 51 times last night. FIFTY. ONE. With starter running back Doug Martin out with an injury, the Bucs’s running attack is anemic at best. 48 rushing yards, which isn’t nearly enough to take any pressure off Glennon. He had his issues–fumbled snaps, etc.–but he’s not getting the protection he needs and I think I may have busted a tooth from grinding so hard as I watched receivers repeatedly dropping perfectly placed passes on critical downs. How many shit sandwiches does this kid have to eat before he starts getting some help when it counts?
Apparently not content to let the offense do all the pooch-screwing, the Tampa defense in recent weeks has become as resistant as soggy toilet paper. A recurring theme was the D’s inability to close out third down plays, keeping Newton and the Panthers offense on the field and moving downhill. They also got burned on key plays which ultimately turned into touchdowns for Carolina, while Glennon and the Bucs offense could only manage field goals…when they were able to score. Glennon had one passing TD, but in reality Tampa was never really in this one from the jump. Things were not helped by a costly fumbled punt return that set up Carolina deep in Bucs territory, but that was basically just pouring salt in the open wound by that point.
One bright spot was an improvement on the penalty situation, which had been plaguing the Bucs in previous games. Only three flags on the night for Tampa, a vast change of pace from last week’s penalty fest. So, yay! Right?
Carolina’s win bumps them up to 4-3, their best start in five years and giving them second place in the NFC South, where the Atlanta Falcons are hovering at 2-4 pending the outcome of their game against Arizona on Sunday. At the top of the heap is New Orleans, sitting at 5-1 as they get ready to host Buffalo, leaving the Bucs in the cellar at 0-7.
Thanks to the Thursday game, the Bucs get a bit of an extra break before heading out to Seattle to face the Seahawks on November 3rd. Unless something drastic happens, they’ll likely come back to Tampa with an 0-8 record to face the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football, assuming ESPN doesn’t just opt to show a rerun of The Replacements, instead.
I may just start crying now, so I can have it all out of the way by then.