Buccaneers vs. Panthers final score: Tampa Bay gets blown out, 27-6

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off three straight wins the Tampa Bay Buccaneers appeared to have reached a turning point. The Bucs could have gotten their signature win in Charlotte against one of the best teams in the league and a division rival, a team that had blown them out earlier in the year. Instead the Bucs put up an embarrassing performance in all phases of the game.

The Bucs rook a 3-0 lead on their opening possession. It would be their last lead of the day. In a game arred by missed field goals, ugly turnovers and an inability to tackle or cover on defense, the Buccaneers just couldn't get going against a good Carolina team. The Bucs would score 0 touchdowns and allow 3 of them on defense, despite several red zone stops on the day.



The theme for the first half was an inability to finish drives. Despite good field position on an interception and two trips inside the five-yard line, the Buccaneers came away with just six points on the half. One comical Mike Glennon fumble inside the red zone was the main cause of that, as the ball slipped out of his hands just a few plays after he hit Vincent Jackson perfectly on a deep ball.

Still, Mike Glennon overall had a decent first half while the offensive line struggled in the run and pass game against arguably the best front seven in the NFL. Glennon was 8/11 for 124 yards and two sacks on the day, and that ugly lost fumble. The offense struggled mostly because of an inert running game, with Bobby Rainey managing just 17 yards on 9 carries in the first half.

The biggest issue in the first half was a defensive inability to stop the Panthers. Despite a Keith Tandy interception (his third on the season), Carolina seemed to move the ball at will against a Tampa Bay defense that struggled to tackle anyone. The Bucs surrendered a whopping 98 rushing yards on just 15 carries in the first half.

The second half saw exactly the opposite happen on offense: Bobby Rainey ran all over the Panthers, but a horrible decision and throw by Glennon on a deep ball produced his first interception since week ten. That led to a few more coverage miscues and the Panthers' third touchdown on the day, this time to Ted Ginn who seemed to beat Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson on the play.

That Ted Ginn Jr. touchdown seemed to be the nail in the Bucs' coffin as they failed to do much after that. A good drive was ended by a missed field goal. Darrelle Revis went out of the game with a chest injury after dropping an interception, and the Bucs continued to struggle to just tackle the Panthers' running backs, let alone stop them. A Lavonte David interception gave them a little bit of hope, but a continued inept offensive performance eliminated that again.The Bucs wouldn't score again the rest of the game, as Glennon didn't pull the trigger on several plays where he had plenty of time, taking several unnecessary sacks down three scores.

Part of the issue was a return to conservatism. The Bucs appeared to take more chances and play more aggressive football in the past three wins, but Greg Schiano opted to settle for field goals and play another conservative game eerily similar to the games they lose in increasingly embarrassing fashion during the first half of the season.

After three straight wins and steady improvement, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today looked like the team that started 0-8. Missed tackles, coverage breakdowns, a resurgence of conservative decisions, an inability to run the ball and a second-half collapse combined to see the Bucs blown out after four promising performances. This could have been a signature game for Greg Schiano, but instead it will lead to questions as to whether he will be fired at season's end.

Injuries

Darrelle Revis left the game with a chest and shoulder injury and did not return.

What's next?

The Bucs will welcome the 4-7 Buffalo Bills in Tampa next Sunday.

Key stats

Mike Glennon was 14/21 for 180 yards, no touchdowns, one interception and five sacks.

Bobby Rainey ran for 63 yards on 16 carries.

Vincent Jackson caught three passes for 75 yards.

The Tampa Bay defense allowed a total of 426 offensive yards, including 163 rushing yards on 34 carries.

Cam Newton threw for 263 yards, completing 18/29 passes with two touchdowns, two interceptions and no sacks.

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