Heading into the month of February, it was completely fair to say...
Bucs Edge Panthers To End Losing Streak
A Sloppy Game By Both Teams Came Down To Possibly A Career Saving Kick To End The Bucs Losing Streak At Three Games
With the possibly both his teams’ season and his professional career on the line, Roberto Aguayo, who missed two earlier kicks, nailed the 38 yard field goal for the win. In a game that was sloppy on both sides, the Buccaneers did just enough to salvage their season.
The positives, the Bucs forced four turnovers and didn’t turn the ball over themselfs. The offense was balanced, throwing the ball and rushing the ball 30 times a piece, while controlling the time of possession. Also after a rough game, Roberto Aguayo settled down and made the game winner as time expired.
The negatives? Although they kept the penalties down, the roughing the kicker call was a crucial penalty that almost cost them the game. Even though the pass defense did force two turnovers, they let Greg Olsen take advantage of them as he had 9 catches for 181 yards. This was a sloppy game by the Buccaneers offense, but they held on to the ball and did enough for the victory.
The Buccaneers offense came into the game with a plan to establish the run. If there was any question behind the ability of Jacquizz Rodgers to carry the load it was answered early, as Rodgers touched the ball 11 times on the first drive (10 carries and one reception). The Buccaneers engineered a 15 play drive, that resulted in a 35 yard Roberto Aguayo field goal to give the Bucs and early 3-0 lead. The Panthers looked to follow the Bucs lead with Cameron Artis-Payne, but he was unable to produce as the Buccaneer defense caused a three and out.
After a Bucs drive that stalled at the 50, and a three and out by the Panthers, the Bucs punted the ball away after their own three and out. As Ted Ginn Jr. caught the punt, his own man ran into him causing a fumble that was recovered by the Bucs at the Carolina 30 yard line. The turnover set up Roberto Aguayo for a 33 yard field goal that he hit the upright on and missed, his 3rd miss of the season.
The defense came up big again after the missed field goal, as three plays later Vernon Hargreaves tipped a Derek Anderson pass that wound up in the arms of Daryl Smith. The turnover and ensuing drive set up at 35 yard field goal attempt, that this time sailed through the uprights to give the Buccaneers a 6-0 lead. With only 42 seconds left to go on the clock, the Panthers would get the ball back, and drive themselves into position to score before the end of the half. However Graham Gano would miss the 43 yard attempt, and the Bucs would carry their 6-0 lead into halftime.
Halftime was the worst thing that could happen to the Buccaneers defense. The Panthers received the second half kickoff, and not able to stop Greg Olsen, drove down the field and faced a 4th and goal from the Tampa bay 1 yard line. Deciding to go for it, Curtis Artis Payne punched it in for the one yard touchdown to give the Panthers the 7-6 lead.
After a quick three and out by the Buccaneers offense, the Panthers had their own three and out. With the Panthers set to punt, Howard Jones roughed the punter and gave new life to the Panthers offense. The Panthers wasted no time cashing in on their opportunity when Artis-Payne scored again two plays later.
The Panthers taking a 14-6 lead seemed to wake up the offense, as the Buccaneers quickly moved down the field thanks two two long completions by Jameis Winston, the second a 26 yard strike to Mike Evans, who pulled off a beautiful double move in the end zone. The Buccaneers decided to go for two in the third quarter, a move that paid off as Winston hit Adam Humphries in the endzone for the successful try, tying the game at 14.
After both teams exchanged three and outs, Derek Anderson was hit by DaVonte Lambert while trying to pick up the first down himself, and fumbled the ball back to the Buccaneers. The Bucs were unable to capitalize however quickly punting the ball back to the Panthers after three plays. The Bucs defense continued their second half softening as they quickly allowed the Panthers to drive all the way down the field. On first down from the Bucs 1 yard line Derek Anderson tried to find Greg Olsen but Brent Grimes came up huge and intercepted the ball in the end zone to keep the Panthers from taking the lead.
The Bucs offense fed off the energy of the defense doing their part to drive into field goal range to take the lead in the 4th quarter, but Aguayo would miss his second attempt of the game, this one from 46 yards out. In a head scratching move, the Panthers would run the ball three straight times and were content to give the ball back to the Buccaneers offense that was staring to move the ball. Winston would respond by driving his team downfield and once again putting the Bucs in field goal range. With his job and the game on the line, Aguayo drilled his 38 yard attempt as time expired to give the Bucs their second victory on the season.
The Buccaneers improve to 2-3 heading into the bye week. Although they are still two games behind the Atlanta Falcons in the division, they do hold a 2-0 division record which could be beneficial to them later on. The bye week comes at a great time, as it will allow the defensive line to get healthy, and allow the Buccaneers to fix the sloppiness that was this game, but of course, a win is a win.