Posted in Game Previews

Game Preview: Bucs @ Panthers Week 2

by Staff Report on September 18, 2010

The Panthers lead the all-time series 12-7, but Tampa Bay and Carolina have split the season series in three of the past five years. The Panthers won both meetings of the 2009 season, 28-21 in Tampa, with the game-winning touchdown in the final minute of the game, and the second meeting by a score of 16-6 in Charlotte. In 2008, each team won at home, including a 27-3 Buccaneers victory in Tampa (10/12/08) in the first meeting and a 38- 23 Buccaneers loss in Carolina (12/8/08) on Monday Night Football. Tampa Bay is 4-6 on the road all-time against the Panthers. In 2007, Tampa Bay defeated the Panthers in Carolina 20-7 in their first matchup despite losing RB Cadillac Williams during the game. RBs Michael Pittman and Earnest Gra­ham picked up the workload and rushed for a combined 138 yards and one touchdown on 32 carries. The teams split the two meetings in 2005: Carolina won 34-14 at Tampa Bay (11/6/05) and the Buccaneers prevailed 20-10 at Carolina (12/11/05). Tampa Bay won three in a row from 1998-02 and started the series 4-1 before losing five consecutive meetings from 2003-05. Tampa Bay won both meetings in 2002, a 12-9 win at Carolina (10/27/02) and a 23-10 win at home (11/17/02). The Buccaneers were Carolina’s fourth opponent in the Panthers’ inaugural season in 1995, and Tampa Bay earned a 20-13 victory at Clemson Memorial Stadium (10/1/95). The following year, Carolina downed Tampa Bay 24-0 (12/1/96) on its way to the NFC Champi­onship Game in just its second year of existence. The Buccaneers captured the last meeting prior to the 2002 season, 16-13, in 1998 in Tampa. Tampa Bay knocked off the Panthers in Charlotte on the way to each of its division-best three NFC South titles in 2002, 2005 and 2007.

GAME INFORMATION
Date: Sunday, September 19, 2010
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Site: Bank of America Stadium (73,504)
2010 Records: Tampa Bay 1-0, Carolina 0-1
Network Television: FOX
Play-by-Play: Dick Stockton, Analysts: Charles Davis, Jim Mora, Jr.
Bucs Radio: US 103.5, flagship station (103.5 FM, 620 AM)
Play-by-Play: Gene Deckerhoff, Color: Dave Moore, Sideline: T.J. Rives
Last Game: Tampa Bay won vs. Cleveland 17-14; Carolina lost at N.Y. Giants 31-18

Head-To-Head
Carolina leads series 12-7 (Regular Season)

SERIES BY THE NUMBERS
Overall Regular Season Series:………………… Carolina leads series, 12-7
Home Record vs. Carolina Panthers:……………………………………….3-6
Road Record vs. Carolina Panthers:………………………………………..4-6
Current Streak:………………………………Panthers, three games (2008-09)
Buccaneers Longest Streak:……………………..Three games (1998-2002)
Panthers’s Longest Streak:…………………………….Five games (2003-05)
Regular Season Point Total:………………. Buccaneers 326 – Panthers 383
Most Points, Buccaneers:………………………. 27, Buccaneers 27-3 (2008)
Most Points, Panthers:……………………………. 38, Panthers 38-23 (2008)
Most Points, both teams:………………………… 61, Panthers 38-23 (2008)
Fewest Points, Buccaneers:…………………………0, Panthers 24-0 (1996)
Fewest Points, Panthers:………………………… 3, Buccaneers 27-3 (2008)
Fewest Points, both teams:…………. 21, twice, last Panthers 12-9 (2003)

SERIES HIGHLIGHTS
The first game in the series took place at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium, and the Buccaneers came away with a 20-13 victory despite a strong effort from the expansion Panthers (10/1/95)… Carolina actually outgained Tampa Bay 393-310, but were victimized by a John Booty interception and three lost fumbles… QB Casey Weldon subbing for an injured Trent Dilfer, provided the winning points in the fourth quarter with a one-yard TD… Tampa Bay allowed just 215 total yards, but it was Carolina’s defense that did in the Bucs in a 24-0 shutout in a driving rain at Ericsson Stadium (12/1/96)… Panthers DE Shawn King sacked Dilfer, forced a fumble and returned the fumble 12 yards for a score… Two Tampa Bay interceptions led to Carolina touchdowns in the second half… Bucs QB Trent Dilfer rallied Tampa Bay to two touchdowns in the last five minutes in a tight 16-13 win over Carolina (10/18/98) at Raymond James Stadium… Tampa Bay K Martin Gramatica connected on all four of his field goal attempts, including a game-winning 47-yard field goal with five seconds remaining, to lift the Buccaneers to a 12-9 win (10/27/02) at Ericsson Stadium… A tenacious Bucs defense forced four turnovers and held the Panthers to a season-low 130 total yards… Tampa Bay’s defense produced four turnovers and four sacks in a 23-10 win over Carolina at home, giving Tampa Bay its best start in team history at 8-2 (11/17/02)… QB Brad Johnson throws touchdown strikes to WR Keyshawn Johnson (23 yards) and WR Keenan McCardell (36 yards) at Carolina (11/9/03)… Tampa Bay set an NFL record with a sack in its 69th consecutive game… CB Tim Wansley recorded two INTs, one for a touchdown in the game… In a 21-14 loss (11/28/04), WR Michael Clayton broke the all-time record for receiving yards in a season by a rookie, surpassing WR Lawrence Dawsey… The 2004 home finale saw another record-breaking performance by WR Michael Clayton… Clayton set the rookie record for touchdown receptions in a season after hauling in two touchdowns to give him six on the year in a 37- 20 loss (12/26/04)… In a 20-10 victory at Carolina (12/11/05), CB Ronde Barber recorded his 20th career sack, making him the only cornerback in NFL history to have 20 sacks and 20 interceptions in a career… CB Ronde Barber moved into a tie on the Buccaneers all-time interception list after notching his 31st career interception on Monday Night Football (11/5/06)… WR Ike Hilliard caught seven balls for 114 yards, and Tampa Bay gained 189 yards on the ground to highlight a complete team effort and a 20-7 Buccaneer win (9/30/07)… In a 27-3 win (10/12/08), rookie LB Geno Hayes recorded his first career blocked punt and touchdown, as he recovered the ball and returned it 22 yards for the score… Tampa Bay’s defense allowed just 40 yards on the ground, forcing three interceptions along with the blocked punt… RB Warrick Dunn rushed for a game-high 115 yards on 22 carries (5.2 avg), marking the 30th 100-yard rushing game in his career… WR Antonio Bryant had a record-setting performance (12/8/08) with nine receptions for a career-high 200 yards, the second-highest receiving yards total in franchise history, and two touchdowns… Rookie QB Josh Freeman threw for 321 yards, while RB Carnell Williams ran for 92, but turnovers proved to be costly, as the Panthers knocked-off the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium by a score of 16-6 (12/6/09).

What to Watch
Bucs OL VS Panthers DL

In the first half last week against the New York Giants. The Panthers allowed 8-yards rushing on 13 carries for a .62 yard per carry average. In the second half the Giants were able to do a better job opening holes as they averaged 4.78 yards per carry. Even though the Panthers have an unheralded group of defenders manning their front four they are equally dangerous against the run and the pass evident by the fact they racked up 19 sacks during the preseason and have shown the ability to stop the run for stretches in their first game. The expected shuffling at the left guard position, where the Bucs will use a heavy rotation of Jeremy Zuttah and Keydrick Vincent until one of them cements the job. Might end up playing right in to the Panthers plans as neither player has shown the level of consistence one would expect from veterans.

Aqib Talib vs Steve Smith
Steve Smith used to literally be known as the “Buc Killer” in the past torching the Bucs secondary during his career. However, since Talib was inserted into the starting line up in 2009. Smith’s numbers, have declined drastically. In two games last year Talib held Smith to 4 catches for 82 yards and zero touchdowns. With Talib back in action after serving his one game suspension he will undoubtedly draw Smith the entire game and render the Panthers best receiving option a mere footnote.

Bucs Front Seven vs Panthers Rushing Attack
The Bucs gave up 87-yards in the first half to the Browns due in large part to bad run fits and tentative tackling. The barometer too which the team will measure their improvement on run defense is that of the Panthers two pronged rushing attack. Headed by DeAngelo Williams and aided by Jonathan Stewart. The duo has amassed 722-yards and 10 touchdowns on 124 carries over the past two years against the Bucs. After a shaky first quarter performance against the Browns the Bucs front seven will have to be assignment sound and detailed oriented if they have visions of keep the Panthers talented duo in check.

INJURY REPORT
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Out
LB Niko Koutouvides (ankle)
Questionable
RB Kareem Huggins (groin)
TE Kellen Winslow (knee)
Probable
QB Josh Freeman (right thumb)
FB Chris Pressley (knee)

CAROLINA PANTHERS
Out
T Jeff Otah (knee)
Doubtful
DT Louis Leonard (elbow)
Questionable
DE Tyler Brayton (ankle)
CB Chris Gamble (ankle)
LB Jordan Senn (ankle)
Probable
WR Brandon LaFell (hamstring)
QB Matt Moore (concussion)
RB Tyrell Sutton (shoulder)

ENEMY COACHES
Panthers Head Coach: John Fox
Panthers Offensive Coordinator: Brian Daboll
Panthers Defensive Coordinator: Rob Ryan
Panthers Special Teams Coach: Brad Seely

STATISTICAL RANKINGS:
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS OFFENSE
Overall: 21st (288.0 ypg)
Rushing: 10th (119.0 ypg)
Passing: 18th (169.0 ypg)
Sacks Allowed: 23rd (3)
Points Scored: 11th (14.0 ppg)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS DEFENSE
Overall: 20th (340.0 ypg)
Rushing: 17th (104.0 ypg)
Passing: 21st (236.0 ypg)
Sacks: 32nd (0)
Points Allowed: 14th (17 ppg)

CAROLINA PANTHERS  OFFENSE
Overall: 28th (237.0 ypg)
Rushing: 20th (89.0 ypg)
Passing: 26th (148.0 ypg)
Sacks Allowed: 29th (4)
Points Scored: 13th (18.0 ppg)
CAROLINA PANTHERS DEFENSE
Overall: 25th (376.0 ypg)
Rushing: 21st (118.0 ypg)
Passing: 24th (258.0 ypg)
Sacks: 21st (1)
Points Allowed: 21st (31 ppg)

Buc Central’s Prognostication:
As always we are not advocating gambling based on our views of the game, especially considering we typically are inclined to make such educated guesses using are heart rather the any rational thought applied to picking. We are merely giving an opinion of who we think has the best chance at securing a victory.

BUCS 23
PANTHERS 16

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