Bucs offer little competition for Panthers, trail 24-3 halftime
If the Bucs have to eventually catch the Carolina Panthers in the NFC South, they have an uphill climb to say the least.
Carolina QB Cam Newton ran for a touchdown and threw for another to stake the Panthers to a 24-3 lead at halftime. The first half ended with Bucs QB Jameis Winston throwing incomplete to TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins at the Carolina 2-yard line as time expired.
Some first half observations:
--The Bucs defense finally got a turnover. CB Alterraun Verner forced a fumble that was recovered by LB Lavonte David. That led to the Bucs' only points, a FG by Connor Barth. It's the first the Bucs have forced in four games.
--The running game has disappeared. Doug Martin entered the game as the NFL's second-leading rusher 64 yards behind the Vikings Adrian Peterson. But he was bottled up by Carolina's defense and limited to 11 yards on nine carries.
--Winston needs to be better in scoring territory. Following the turnover, he had Russell Shepard behind the defense in the end zone but overthrew him. He also was unable to make a play as the first half ended with an incompletion to ASJ at the Carolina 2 yard line.
--The Bucs secondary can't cover anyone. Newton is 14 of 18 passing for 211 yards and a TD. Could've been better if not for a couple drops. Almost every defensive back has played in the first half.
--Injuries are an issue. FB Jorvorski Lane suffered a severe ankle injury early in the game and had to be carted off. LB Danny Lansanah (hamstring) left the game in the second quarter.