1:00 p.m. ET
60 degrees, clear skies
Key Coaching Decision:
• (Tampa Bay ball, trailing 7-28 / fourth and 9, TB 26 / 6:33 left in Q2)
Tampa Bay attempted a fake punt. The try was not successful, and the Panthers were able to score a touchdown with the favorable field position. Even though the Buccaneers were trailing three touchdowns, there was plenty of time left in the game. The downside of essentially gifting the Panthers with points was completely asymmetric to the upside of simply picking up a first down in a non-critical situation. The Buccaneers would go on to score a touchdown on their next drive and executed many nice drives throughout. At one point they brought the score to within seven points. Had they not surrendered seven points as a result of this costly coaching decision, the Buccaneers could have won this game. Tampa Bay’s play calling score was severely docked for this decision.
• The Panthers struggled with game clock management in this game. Carolina lost a timeout on a poor challenge in the 3rd quarter and used their remaining two timeouts before the start of the 4th quarter. This cost them as they were unable to prevent a delay of game in the 4th quarter.
• Carolina displayed very impressive offensive play calling in this game. They used extensive pre-snap movement, jet sweeps and misdirections, including a hand-off double reverse play, to set up gashing plays, several times going for 20+ yards. Cam Newton completed the ball to several different receivers, and the speed and misdirection displayed by the offense certainly appeared to have Tampa Bay on their heels. Credit to Carolina’s play calling and personnel.