|Other Week 6 Game Recaps|
|BAL at IND||CAR at TB||CHI at ATL||CIN at NYJ||DAL at ARI||DET at MIN||GB at SEA||JAX at DEN|
|MIA at HOU||NE at SD||NYG at CLE||OAK at NO||PHI at SF||STL at WAS|
Week 6 Game Recap: Carolina Panthers 3, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27
What you need to know
The Carolina Panthers just never got it going against the Buccaneers. They gave up a first quarter blocked punt that Tampa Bay returned for a touchdown and the Buccaneers used that early momentum to put on a defensive clinic.
QB Jake Delhomme threw three interceptions, one of which Tampa Bay turned into a touchdown and the other two stopped potential scoring drives.
Carolina didn't get much from their running game and finished with just 40 yards on 20 attempts. While WR Steve Smith finished with over 100 yards, one underthrown ball by Delhomme and another drop by Smith each blew potential scoring plays and all of Delhomme's interceptions bounced off his intended receivers.
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
The Buccaneers used early momentum from a blocked punt and touchdown return by rookie LB Geno Hayes and aggressive defense that led to three interceptions to come away with the victory. Tampa Bay's offense did just enough with good decisions in the passing game and a steady rushing attack to control the time of possession and grind out scoring drives.
QB Jeff Garcia, who made good decisions all game long, threw for just 173 yards, but connected with TE Alex Smith on a two yard score and did not turn the ball over as he steered the offense to an efficient performance.
RB Earnest Graham had to make the shift to fullback after in injury took out the only fullback Tampa Bay had active, so Warrick Dunn carried the load in the running game. Dunn ran 22 times for 115 yards and Graham added a one yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
Tampa Bay's only real big play in the passing game came on a Garcia to TE Alex Smith touchdown toss from two yards out in the first quarter.
What you ought to know
|QB Jake Delhomme, Pass: 20 - 39 - 242 - 0 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0|
Jake Delhomme had a rough outing at Tampa Bay. He completed 20 of 39 passes for 242 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions and ran the ball one time for a one yard loss. All three interceptions came on passes that bounced off potential Panther receivers. Delhomme and Carolina just never seemed to be in sync from the start of the game and Tampa Bay was able to force them to abandon the running game and become one dimensional with the pass, where they came up with all of the big plays. Delhomme underthrew one pass to WR Steve Smith for a 48 yard completion that could have been a touchdown had he led Smith a little more and Smith later dropped a pass that would have been a sure score.
|RB DeAngelo Williams, Rush: 11 - 27 - 0, Rec: 2 - 8 - 0 (2 targets)|
Williams led Carolina with 11 carries for 27 yards on the ground and caught both passes thrown his way for eight yards. He had a long run of just seven yards and was bottled up all game long against the Buccaneers.
|RB Jonathan Stewart, Rush: 6 - 12 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (5 targets)|
Jonathan Stewart had just six rushes for 12 yards on the ground and one reception for one yard on five targets in the passing game. He was used on a goal to goal situation, and fumbled the ball but was ruled down. That was his only goal line carry for the game. Neither Stewart nor DeAngelo Williams found much success running the ball against an inspired Tampa Bay defense.
|WR Steve Smith, Rec: 6 - 112 - 0 (10 targets)|
Smith was the most targeted Panther as he finished with 10 looks in the game. He led the way receiving with six receptions for 112 yards. However, Smith was visibly frustrated by the lackluster performance of the offense on the sidelines on numerous occasions, and he dropped a sure touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Smith was also drilled on a reception attempt, lost the ball and it was picked off by the Buccaneers.
|WR Muhsin Muhammad, Rec: 4 - 68 - 0 (7 targets)|
Muhammad was targeted seven times and came down with four receptions for 68 yards. He was targeted on a jump ball play in the end zone, but the ball was tipped and intercepted by Tampa Bay.
|TE Dante Rosario, Rec: 3 - 28 - 0 (7 targets)|
Rosario was targeted seven times and finished with three receptions for 28 yards. Carolina attempted to get him the ball on third down twice, once on fourth, and tried to hit him deep, so he was a part of the game plan. One pass intended for Rosario was picked off by Tampa Bay.
|PK John Kasay 1 - 1 FG, 0 - 0 XP, 3 points|
Kasay nailed his only field goal attempt from 20 yards out to finish with three points.
|CAR Rush Defense|
The Carolina defense did allow Tampa Bay to rush for 142 yards and gave up one rushing score, but in their defense, they were on the field an awful lot thanks to their inept offense. The Panthers defense was on the field for almost 35 minutes as they got no help from the offensive turnovers.
With the Buccaneers rushing the ball 37 times, there were plenty of tackle opportunities for the Carolina front seven. LB Jon Beason led the way with eight solo tackles and five assists and Na'il Diggs added eight solo tackles and one assist of his own.
|CAR Pass Defense|
The Panthers gave up just 173 passing yards, but that was mostly due to the success Tampa Bay was having running the ball and the short fields given to the Buccaneers on Carolina's three turnovers. Tampa Bay did throw for one score, but it was clear they wanted to lean heavily on their rushing attack. One negative for Carolina was their lack of pressure when the Buccaneers did drop back to pass. They failed to record a sack against Garcia and a Tampa Bay team that has fallen victim to sacks in recent weeks.
DB Chris Gamble led the secondary with six solo tackles and one assist and Richard Marshall added four solos and one assist of his own.
|QB Jeff Garcia, Pass: 15 - 20 - 173 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 6 - 0|
Garcia didn't post huge numbers against the Panthers, but most importantly for the Buccaneers, he did not make mistakes. He finished 15 of 20 for 173 yards and a two yard touchdown pass to TE Alex Smith and ran the ball three times for six yards. Garcia was helped tremendously by his special teams and defense, so he did not have to shoulder most of the responsibility for offensive production for Tampa Bay. He was pressured by the Panthers, but was able to use his scrambling ability to escape trouble and attempt throws downfield or throw the ball away. Garcia was credited with a fumble on a botched pitch play, but the Buccaneers were able to recover.
|RB Warrick Dunn, Rush: 22 - 115 - 0, Rec: 3 - 18 - 0 (5 targets)|
As always, Warrick Dunn was used in both offensive phases of the game, but due to early injuries, he was forced to carry the load in the running game for the Buccaneers and he responded well. Dunn ran the ball 22 times for 115 yards and added three receptions for 18 yards on five targets in the passing game. Dunn still has the knack to get "lost" in the trenches and still possesses the shiftiness and footwork he's showed since he came into the league.
|RB Earnest Graham, Rush: 5 - 11 - 1, Rec: 2 - 47 - 0 (3 targets)|
With Tampa Bay already missing starting FB B.J. Askew and an early injury to backup Byron Storer, Graham was forced to shift to full back for most of the game. As a result, he carried the ball just five times for 11 yards, but he was able to get in the end zone from one yard out in the fourth quarter. On the scoring play, Graham lined up at fullback with Dunn deep in the backfield and took the handoff up the middle for the score. Graham was also targeted three times in the passing game where he came down with two receptions for 47 yards.
|WR Michael Clayton, Rec: 2 - 29 - 0 (2 targets)|
Clayton caught both passes thrown his way for 29 yards and continued to show signs of the skill set he showed as a rookie. He ran crisp routes and did a great job blocking in the running game, but he just doesn't get the opportunities in the passing game.
|WR Ike Hilliard, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (3 targets)|
Hilliard was targeted three times, but caught just one pass for six yards. He did have another reception called back for penalty.
|WR Antonio Bryant, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (2 targets)|
Bryant was targeted just twice and came down with one reception for 13 yards.
|WR Joey Galloway|
Galloway missed the game due to the foot injury that's been nagging him, but warmed up before the game, so he could be returning in the near future.
|TE Alex Smith, Rec: 3 - 43 - 1 (3 targets)|
Smith made the most of his three targets, catching all three passes for two first downs and a two yard touchdown reception.
|PK Matt Bryant 2 - 3 FG, 3 - 3 XP, 9 points|
Bryant missed his first field goal of the season from 51 yards out, but connected from 37 and 49 yards out and added three extra points to finish with nine points in the game.
|TB Rush Defense|
Tampa Bay was stout against the run, as they held Carolina to just 40 rushing yards on 20 attempts, for just a 2.0 ypc average. They also allowed just two rushing first downs for the game. The Panthers had a long run of just seven yards, and could not get in on their only goal to go situation of the game.
LB's Barrett Rudd and Derrick Brooks each finished with four solo tackles to lead the Buccaneers defense.
|TB Pass Defense|
The Buccaneers defense continued their strong play, and their secondary came up with all of the big plays against the Panthers. They picked off QB Jake Delhomme three times, all coming on plays where his receivers made plays on the ball. While their front seven failed to sack Delhomme and didn't apply the pressure they'd would have liked, their secondary kept constant pressure on the receiving core, as they swarmed to the ball every time a Panthers receiver was targeted. As strong of a game as they had, it could have been even more impressive. Tampa Bay dropped at least four more Delhomme passes that could have been picked off, but the bottom line was they made the plays they had to and came out with a divisional win. One negative for the Buccaneers was their penalties in the game. They were penalized after each turnover for either excessive celebration, taunting and sideline interference. On a lighter note, DL Jovan Haye was penalized for "doing a cartwheel on the field."
DB's Jermaine Phillips, Aqib Talib and Tanard Jackson accounted for the three interceptions and fellow DB Ronde Barber led the secondary with four solo tackles and one assist.