Posted in Game Previews

Game Preview: Panthers vs Bucs

by Staff Report on October 17, 2009

Will the Bucs get their first win of the 2009 season?

Will the Bucs get their first win of the 2009 season?

Carolina leads the all-time series 10-7 but the Buccaneers and the Panthers have split the season series three of the last four years. Last season each team won their home game 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. In 2007, Tampa Bay defeated the Panthers in Carolina 20-7 and fell 31-23 in Tampa during the last week of the regular season with Tampa Bay resting most of its starters to prepare for the playoffs. Tampa Bay is 3-5 at home and 4-5 away all-time against the Panthers. Tampa Bay won three in a row from 1998-02 and started the series 4-1. The Buccaneers were Carolina’s fourth opponent in the Panthers’ inaugural season in 1995, earning a 20-13 victory at Clemson Memorial Stadium (10/1/95).

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 RJS… 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 records two INTs, one for a touchdown in the game… In a 21- 14 loss (11/28/04), WR Michael Clayton breaks 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 moves 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 catches seven balls for 114 yards, and Tampa Bay gains 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 was stellar all day, allowing 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.

GAME INFORMATION
Date: Sunday, October 18, 2009
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Site: Raymond James Stadium (65,890)
2009 Records: Tampa Bay 0-5, Carolina 1-3
Network Television: FOX
Play-by-Play: Dick Stockton, Analyst: Charles Davis
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 lost at Philadelphia 33-14; Carolina defeated Washington 20-17
Next Game: Tampa Bay vs. New England (10/25-London); Carolina vs. Buffalo (10/25)

Key Match-Ups
Bucs Running Game vs Panthers Front Seven
With Jeff Faine returning to the starting lineup – will it make a difference in the teams ground attack, with teams stacking the box and daring the Bucs to beat them with the pass, it will be critical for the ground game to shoulder some of the load and take pressure off of second year pro Josh Johnson. Play action doesn’t work unless you can effectively run the ball which the Bucs haven’t been able to do as of late.

Greg “Stylez G” White vs Jordan Gross
The team shipped off underachieving DE Gaines Adams Friday night to the Bears, now White, will be given every opportunity to shine. Many argue White was / is the better pass rusher and will now be given the stage to show the world if the speculation was indeed true or if he’s more hype then substance.

Bucs Secondary vs Steve Smith
The Bucs secondary has surrendered huge chunks of ground through the air this season…Smith has had a history for coming up big against the Bucs – it’s like oil and water and as we all know the two just don’t mix. If the secondary doesn’t contain Smith, it could be the game Smith shows why he considered such a dangerous weapon.

INJURY REPORT
CAROLINA PANTHERS
QUESTIONABLE
TE Dante Rosario (ankle)
LB James Anderson (concussion)
PROBABLE
WR Steve Smith (knee)
LB Jon Beason (knee)
LB Na’il Diggs (rib)
DT Nick Hayden (toe)
CB Captain Munnerlyn (shoulder)
RB Jonathan Stewart (Achilles)

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
OUT
FB B.J. Askew (back, neck)
PROBABLE
TE Jerramy Stevens (quad)
WR Antonio Bryant (knee)
C Jeff Faine (triceps)
RB Earnest Graham (hamstring)
DE Kyle Moore (knee)
RB Clifton Smith (ankle)
T Donald Penn (ankle)
DE Jimmy Wilkerson (knee)

ENEMY COACHES
Panthers Head Coach: John Fox
Panthers Offensive Coordinator: Jeff Davidson
Panthers Defensive Coordinator: Ron Meeks
Panthers Special Teams Coach: Danny Crossman

STATISTICAL RANKINGS:
CAROLINA PANTHERS OFFENSE
Overall: 27th (282.0 ypg)
Rushing: 23rd (97.3 ypg)
Passing: 24th (184.8 ypg)
Sacks Allowed: 20th (12)
Points Scored: 28th (14.3 ppg)

CAROLINA PANTHERS DEFENSE
Overall: 15th (321.3 ypg)
Rushing: 30th (155.5 ypg)
Passing: 2nd (165.8 ypg)
Sacks: 19th (9)
Points Allowed: 26th (26.0 ppg)

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS OFFENSE
Overall: 26th (284.2 ypg)
Rushing: 26th (94.6 ypg)
Passing: 23rd (189.6 ypg)
Sacks Allowed: 9th (8)
Points Scored: 29th (13.6 ppg)

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS DEFENSE
Overall:
28th (379.8 ypg)
Rushing:
28th (152.6 ypg)
Passing:
21st (227.2 ypg)
Sacks:
19th (9)
Points Allowed:
30th (28 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.

PANTHERS 17
BUCS
14

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