Quick Thoughts on Panthers Loss to Buccaneers

Schuyler Callihan

The Carolina Panthers fell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today 31-17 and now drop to 0-2 on the young season. Here are some of my initial reactions from today's game:

Too many mistakes

Giving an NFL team extra opportunities with the ball usually doesn't work out in your favor, let alone when that team has Tom Brady on its side. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater turned the ball over twice in three plays, throwing an interception on a screen and fumbling on the second play on the ensuing drive. 

Rookie defensive lineman Derrick Brown was called for a late hit, which gave the Bucs a first down and led to a score on the next play. In the second half, the Panthers had 3rd and 11 and were able to get the stop, but Brown was flagged for hands to the face, giving the Bucs an automatic first down. Once again, you can't help teams that don't need the extra help - the Bucs are talented enough. 

Dominated in the trenches

From the very first drive on, it seemed like Teddy Bridgewater was in constant duress in the pocket. Tampa has a very tough front seven and may be one of the best in the league, but Bridgewater had no chance to make a play because he didn't have enough time for things to develop down the field. Tampa recorded four sacks on the day and several pressures and QB hurries. On the flip side, Tom Brady had all day to throw the ball and like last week, the Panthers’ pass rush was nonexistent - zero sacks once again from the Carolina defense.

Mental Toughness

Despite trailing 21-0 at the half and seeming like a blowout was in order, the Panthers fought back for the second straight week to keep it a game into the fourth quarter. If you would have said at the start of the 2nd half that it would be a one score game with two minutes left, I wouldn't have believed it. Four turnovers really hurt Carolina today and if they just cut those down in half, it would have helped things dramatically. Regardless, you have to like the fight this team has for how young they are.

The Panthers will take on the Chargers next Sunday at 4:05 p.m. EST.

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