Buccaneers claim divisional win after lightning stalls opening quarter in Charlotte
By Associated Press
Last Updated: 13/09/19 6:05am
Tampa Bay claimed their first win of the new NFL season, holding off Carolina’s final drive to claim an edgy 20-14 victory that leaves the Panthers winless.
With time running out between the NFC South rivals and the Panthers trailing by six in their home season opener, Cam Newton led Carolina down the field in a final two-minute drill.
They looked to be heading for a first win of the season, or at least overtime, as they reached the redzone, but the Buccaneers came up with a late goal-line stand to ensure Newton, despite 324 passing yards, was held without a touchdown for the second successive week.
Lightning in the area meant the game was delayed for 25 minutes in the first quarter, but the Bucs held on to give new head coach Bruce Arians his first victory since taking charge in the off-season
Peyton Barber ran for 82 yards and a 16-yard touchdown while Jameis Winston threw for 208 yards as Tampa Bay held Newton in check when it mattered most, the Panthers quarterback also came up with another fumble as he suffered an eighth consecutive defeat in starts.
The Panthers needed four field goals from Matt Gay, and a Barber safety, to rack up their 14 points.
Chris Godwin was Winston’s safety blanket, the wide receiver scored the game’s only touchdown and hauled in eight catches for 121 yards as the Bucs won despite converting only two of 12 first downs.
For Newton it was another night of frustration, culminating in the final drive which fell short despite numerous breaks. On fourth down play from the two, the Bucs stopped Christian McCaffrey after he took a snap out of the wildcat formation to take over on downs.
The Buccaneers (1-1) got plenty of pressure on Newton with three sacks coming from Shaquil Barrett. They also held McCaffrey to 53 total yards from scrimmage after he racked up 209 yards and two touchdowns in the season-opener against the Los Angeles Rams.
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Up next – Both teams get an extended break after a Thursday night outing, the Buccaneers are back at home when they face the New York Giants, while Carolina chase their first victory when they host the Arizona Cardinals.