Maybe it sounds bizarre to name a recreation in Week 6 in opposition to a sub-.500 group a “must-win,” however that’s what Sunday felt like at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. The Panthers had already misplaced as soon as to divisional foe Tampa Bay this yr, and the considered getting swept by a fellow NFC South opponent that may very well be pushing for a wild-card spot in December introduced all kinds of potential troublesome playoff situations.
No want to fret. The Panthers gained, 37-26
Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen, for the primary time this season, didn’t seem like a backup being requested to not lose a recreation. Sunday was his fourth begin of the yr, and he appeared utterly in management, even when his receivers did him no favors within the first half (Curtis Samuel, D.J. Moore and Jarius Wright had their share of drops). However receivers cleaned up their act after halftime, and Allen was balanced in his distribution with 4 of his targets having at the very least 4 catches.
Sunday was Allen’s first multi-touchdown recreation since his Week Three debut at Arizona when he shocked everybody by throwing 4 TD passes. He had been stored in test since (one landing go to Christian McCaffrey) however lastly appeared like greater than Cam Newton’s seat hotter. To be truthful, Tampa Bay, by far, the NFL’s worst go protection. However his efficiency is nothing to be ignored — 20 of 32 passing for 227 yards and two touchdowns.
Allen nonetheless hasn’t thrown an interception this yr and is 5-Zero all-time as a starter.
C-minus: The Buccaneers made it some extent in Week 2 to not let Christian McCaffrey beat them — and it labored. Sunday? They centered on shutting him down once more, and did job by way of yardage, even when he nonetheless scored twice — a 3rd effort on a one-yard landing run, and a 25-yard reception.
McCaffrey had 22 carries for 31 yards. Curtis Samuel added an Eight-yard dashing rating on an end-around.
B: In contrast to final week, when the Jaguars’ Gardner Minshew made the Panthers’ secondary look foolish, Jameis Winston was no match for the Carolina protection. Look past the boxscore — greater than 200 of his passing yards have been within the second half when the sport was already in hand.
Winston was intercepted by James Bradberry on the sport’s first play (and once more on the Bucs’ final), threw one other choose within the second quarter to Javien Elliott, a 3rd for good measure to Luke Kuechly within the third quarter and another to Ross Cockrell within the fourth. But it surely wasn’t solely the secondary making huge performs; the Panthers’ go rush once more appeared like it could be the NFL’s greatest.
Carolina sacked Winston six occasions within the first half (seven within the recreation), 4 of which got here on back-to-back performs. No two sacks have been extra notable than Vernon Butler’s with lower than 2 minutes to play within the second quarter. The Buccaneers had first-and-10 from the Carolina 12-yard line when Butler compelled a strip sack of Winston; nevertheless, Tampa Bay recovered. The subsequent play, Butler once more had a strip sack, however this time the Panthers recovered, and have been capable of get out of the primary half with a 17-7 lead.
Winston had extra success by the air within the second half and completed with 399 passing yards and a landing.
A: We needed to doublecheck the field rating to verify the Bucs even used a operating again. They did, to little impact. Tampa Bay had 14 carries for 42 yards. Ronald Jones and Dare Ogunbowale scored touchdowns on brief runs after drives that have been put collectively by the air.
C-plus: The purpose of this particular groups report card is to not try to pile on Ray-Ray McCloud. Truthfully! He’s simply been so dangerous, it’s exhausting to disregard the legal responsibility he has grow to be to the Panthers. McCloud, Carolina’s kick and punt returner, has three fumbles this season (all in opposition to Tampa Bay), together with one which led to a Bucs’ landing Sunday.
There needs to be a greater choice within the return recreation that’s already on the roster. Reggie Bonnafon? How about Gerald McCoy?
Joey Slye, who missed three kicks in final week’s win in opposition to Jacksonville, made Three-of-5 subject targets Sunday. Considered one of his misses was on a free kick, and we simply appreciated the spectacle of the ordeal.
A: Don’t name him “Riverboat Ron” Rivera, name him “Analytics Ron.” Should you watched the NFL Community broadcast of Sunday’s recreation, you’re in all probability bored with listening to that schtick. No matter you wish to name the Panthers’ coach, simply know this: He and his employees have been good Sunday.
On fourth-and-goal from the 1 within the first quarter and the rating tied Zero-Zero, he determined to go for it. Reasonably than a poor trick-play name from offensive coordinator Norv Turner like what we noticed on the Panthers’ last snap in opposition to Tampa Bay in Week 2, Carolina went up the intestine with McCaffrey, who stretched the ball throughout the purpose line on a 3rd effort. That set the tone for the sport.
And the way a couple of shoutout to particular groups coordinator Chase Blackburn who informed McCloud to make sure to name a good catch proper earlier than halftime so they may strive a free kick with Zero:01 displaying on the clock?