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Panthers wrapup: Tampa Bay hammers Carolina in second half and Panthers suffer more injuries

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from the Carolina Panthers’ 46-23 home loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that dropped the team to 3-7 overall:

… As expected, Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) didn’t play, but his replacement Mike Davis (left thumb) missed time with an injury and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (right knee) didn’t return after getting hurt in the fourth quarter. The good news for Bridgewater is that the serious injury he suffered in 2016 was to his left knee.

… The teams were tied 17-all at halftime though Tampa Bay outgained Carolina 222 to 152. In the second half, the Buccaneers outscored Carolina 29-6 and outgained the Panthers 322 to 35.

… One week after racking up the most first downs (30) since a 45-21 home win over the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 5, 2017, the Panthers got 13 first downs for their lowest total since getting 13 on Dec. 12, 2018 in a 12-9 home loss to the New Orleans Saints.

… Total defense also went through “opposite day” as a week after tying for sixth-best rushing defense (30 yards) against Kansas City last week, the Panthers yielded 544 to Tampa Bay. It’s the third-highest yardage total ever allowed by Carolina – and most ever at home.

… The game seemed to change after Rodney Jones’ 98-yard touchdowns run with 7:39 left in the third quarter increased a 20-17 Tampa Bay lead to 26-17. Jones’ run is the fourth TD run of 98 or more yards in NFL history; Tony Dorsett of Dallas in 1983 and Derrick Henry of Tennessee in 2018 had 99-yard runs and Ahman Green of Green Bay in 2003 also had a 98-yard run

… Carolina’s third-down defense struggled again. It yielded five straight third down conversions and 10 of 16 conversions overall. Tampa Bay became the third time this season to convert 10 or more third downs; The Los Angeles Chargers had 10 in week 3 and the New Orleans Saints had 12 in week 7.

… After recovering a Rodney Jones fumble on the Tampa Bay’s first possession, the Buccaneers scored on nine straight possessions before kneeling out the end of the game.

… The 23-point defeat was Carolina’s largest of the season and largest home loss ever against Tampa Bay.

Next week:
Carolina hosts Detroit, Nov. 22 at 1 p.m.