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Best and Worst from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Week 2 Win over the Carolina Panthers

Sorting through the good and the bad.

Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady got his first win as a Buc.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Bucs rode their defense to a big 31-17 win over the Panthers in Week Two. It was a much-needed win that catapulted the Bucs to 1-1 on the season.

As always, we are here to take a look at the best and worst from the game. So without further ado, let’s dive in.


THE BEST

THE BUCS’ DEFENSE

Guys were making plays all over the place on defense. It was a lot of fun to watch.

The Bucs got to business right out of the gate on Sunday. Jordan Whitehead ended the Panthers’ first drive with an interception and then rookie Antoine Winfield Jr. set the tone for the rest of the game with a strip sack of his own on the very next drive. The Bucs were able to take advantage of both mistakes and were able to get out to a 14-point lead early in the first quarter.

But it didn’t stop there. Jason Pierre-Paul notched another takedown. Ndamukong Suh led the team with two sacks. Lavonte David forced a fumble. Carlton Davis III’s interception was the play of the game. Devin White had a career-high 15 total tackles and 11 solo tackles. Hell, even Will Gholston got a sack.

NFL: SEP 20 Panthers at Buccaneers
Tampa Bay’s defense had the Panthers’ offense upside-down.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Panthers netted 104 total yards in the first half and the Bucs forced four turnovers and recorded five sacks. It was easily the best defensive performance of the young season.

The Bucs’ defense has a bright future. And that’s putting it lightly.

MIKE EVANS

With Chris Godwin out, it was crucial for Evans to have a big game.

He and Brady looked great. They connected on seven receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown, the latter being the second score of the game. Five of the seven receptions and 91 of the 104 yards came in the first half, which were instrumental in helping the Bucs climb to 21-0 before halftime.

It will be fun watching Evans and Brady continue to make plays as the season continues on.

LEONARD FOURNETTE

Gotta give the big man some love for this game. He helped the Bucs score the third touchdown before halftime then sealed the deal with his 46-yard touchdown run at the end of the game.

The dude just made plays as the game went on. He also out-snapped starter Ronald Jones II 43% to 34%, so that will certainly be something to monitor moving forward.

THE WORST

MISTAKES

The Bucs didn’t go through the day without making their fair share of mistakes. A poor throw from Brady resulted in an interception and a botched handoff between he and RoJo were at the top, but there were some bad penalties, as well.

Ryan Jensen’s block in the back, Donovan Smith’s holding call, and Davis’ DPI penalty were three poorly timed mistakes that could’ve really hurt the Bucs. The Bucs were able to overcome the block in the back thanks to a flag on Derrick Brown, but the holding call ended a crucial drive in the third quarter and the DPI led to a touchdown.

THE OFFENSE IN THE THIRD QUARTER

The Bucs led 21-0 at halftime, but the Panthers shrunk that lead to 21-14 in the fourth quarter after Christian McCaffrey ran in his second touchdown of the day.

The Panthers were able to get back in the game thanks to an abysmal offensive performance in the third quarter. Tampa Bay gained just 11 yards and were given 18 free yards via penalty. So, they were given more yards then they actually gained themselves. Brady’s interception also directly led to a Carolina touchdown, which obviously didn’t help things.

NFL: SEP 20 Panthers at Buccaneers
Brady and the offense were dreadful coming out of halftime.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There were struggles in the third quarter in New Orleans, as well. Hopefully the Bucs can figure out how to come out of halftime more focused and ready to play.

THE RUN GAME

Look, the Bucs finished with 122 yards on 22 carries, but 46 of those yards came on Fournette’s last run and the Bucs had just 32 yards on 14 carries before halftime.

You’d think the Bucs could run the ball more effectively with the talent on the offensive line, but for some reason, they just can’t get it going. The stats would look much worse if it weren’t for Fournette’s run.

So far, it’s a combination of things. Scheme, personnel, play calling, and execution all have something to do with it. Tampa Bay must find a way to get better on the ground, especially while the passing game works out the kinks.