The Panthers (6-2) scored touchdowns on five straight possessions during the first half to build a commanding 35-7 lead before the Buccaneers battled back to within a touchdown early in the fourth quarter behind Ryan Fitzpatrick. But for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, things look awfully similar. "We really didn't get much going".
While their performance on the defensive side of the ball has been paltry, the Bucs are ranked No. 1 in both total offense (476.6 ypg) and passing yards (376.3 ypg). "And we've got D-Jack, Chris, O.J. and Cam". The previous record for the Panthers was 31 points before the half. He's thrown only four interceptions all season - the same amount Winston threw in last week's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
And when Fitzpatrick entered last week's game in the fourth quarter, he hit Evans for a 72-yard touchdown reception while leading the Bucs back from a 18-point deficit.
Winston, who was suspended for the first three games of the season for violating the league's personal conduct policy, has thrown six touchdowns and 10 picks in four appearances in 2018.More news: AMD Reveals EPYC 'Rome' CPU with 64 Zen2 Cores
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Defensive end Julius Peppers helped Bradberry out, too. But Thomas Davis stepped up late in the game with a clutch pass breakup and baited Tampa Bay into a false start.
"It's frustrating, but that's on the players. It's on us, it's on me", Pierre-Paul said. "When you play young guys, they are going to make mistakes".
"We're in this pattern, that we go out, we get behind, we get killed in the second quarter, then we rally like hell in the third quarter and then everybody thinks we're back in it and then we fade off at the end", Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter said about his team's rally in the third that ultimately fell short. "We had a breakdown in protection and that's the risk you take when you try a fake punt like that".
"We know we have the talent, it's just we can't keep digging ourselves in these holes, especially on the road", Fitzpatrick said. McCaffrey then came through for the team again, scoring on a rush for the second time. Two plays later, he did the same when Eric Reid forced Fitzpatrick to scramble out of the pocket. "We're just not a very consistent team and not a consistent offense right now".