Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs find Panthers' Newton elusive as ever

 

QUICK HITS

— Bucs S Dashon Goldson missed Thursday night's game with a left knee injury sustained Sunday against the Falcons. Also out were RB Doug Martin, G Carl Nicks, WR Jeff Demps, DT Derek Landri and WR Chris Owusu.

— Before the game the Bucs promoted WR Skye Dawson from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. DE Trevor Scott was released.

— Tampa Bay played its second Thursday night game, having won at Minnesota (36-17) last October.

— The Panthers still have not allowed a first-half touchdown this season. The Bucs had two field goals.



Bucs DT Gerald McCoy has called Cam Newton the "best escape artist" in the league. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Panthers quarterback, the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner out of Auburn and No. 1 overall pick two years ago, showed just how elusive he was Thursday, rushing 11 times for 50 yards, including a 19-yard run, as well as a 6-yard touchdown on a scramble in the third quarter. Newton's ability to keep a play alive paid off on his touchdown pass in the first quarter, avoiding pressure while running right then throwing a 1-yard TD pass to the left to TE Greg Olsen. The Bucs managed to sack Newton three times, but he still exhibited efficient passing, going 23-for-32 for 221 yards and two touchdowns. "That's what Cam is, he's an elite quarterback," CB Darrelle Revis said. "He can hurt you in the pass game and with his legs as well. We didn't do a great job on him."

Punt, and comeback hopes, fumbled away

. WR Eric Page entered Thursday having done a solid job in handling punt and kick return duties. But with the Bucs already trailing 21-6 in the third quarter, Page muffed a punt at his own 29 yard line and Carolina's Colin Jones recovered. Four plays later, Carolina scoree its fourth touchdown of the night — on a 3-yard pass from Cam Newton to Mike Tolbert — on the first play of the fourth quarter to put the game away. "I should have caught it," Page said afterward. "There's no excuse."

Botched shotgun snaps by the Bucs proved costly on two third-down plays in the second quarter. On both, it appeared Ted Larsen, moved to center from left guard two weeks ago, sent a low snap to QB Mike Glennon, who recovered each fumble before getting dropped for a loss. Three minutes into the second quarter, the Bucs faced third and 3 at their 34 when Glennon couldn't handle Larsen's snap, leading to a 10-yard loss and a punt. Then, with the Bucs on their best drive of the half, another low snap by Larsen on third and 5 on the Panthers 26 was bobbled by Glennon, leading to a 4-yard loss. The Bucs settled for a field goal by Rian Lindell, cutting the Panthers' lead to 14-6. In the second half, Jeremy Zuttah moved back to center, and Larsen moved to guard.

Bucs DT Gerald McCoy has called Cam Newton the "best escape artist" in the league. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Panthers quarterback, the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner out of Auburn and No. 1 overall pick two years ago, showed just how elusive he was Thursday, rushing 11 times for 50 yards, including a 19-yard run, as well as a 6-yard touchdown on a scramble in the third quarter. Newton's ability to keep a play alive paid off on his touchdown pass in the first quarter, avoiding pressure while running right then throwing a 1-yard TD pass to the left to TE Greg Olsen. The Bucs sacked Newton three times, but he still exhibited efficient passing, going 23-for-32 for 221 yards and two touchdowns. "That's what Cam is, he's an elite quarterback," CB Darrelle Revis said. "He can hurt you in the pass game and with his legs as well. We didn't do a great job on him."

Fans let their feelings known

. Bucs fans let coach Greg Schiano have it with "Fire Schiano!" and "Greg's gotta go!" chants in the fourth quarter, and booing him loudly as he ran off the field. Fans signs included "Fire Schiano," "Schiano is worse than MRSA," "Make Schiano Walk the Plank," "I want a refund," and "This (stinks!)" Several fans wore bags over their heads. " "I think a lot of stuff they said wasn't cool," DT Gerald McCoy said. "I understand being frustrated, but you've still got to have a little class."

. One of the major story lines on the NFL Network for Thursday's game was the future of Greg Schiano as Bucs coach. Perhaps those around the country who don't follow the team learned something, but for those who follow the Bucs locally, nothing about the pregame coverage was breaking news.

NFL.com columnist Michael Silver and NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport were on board to say Schiano is a taskmaster, the players aren't crazy about him, and there's no guarantee that Schiano will make it through the season.

Meantime, NFL Network analyst Marshall Faulk said, "I'd have a deaf ear for (Schiano). … It just wouldn't sit well with me if I was a leader on this team.''

The most interesting part of the pregame was a roundtable of former Buc defensive standouts Derrick Brooks, Simeon Rice, Booger McFarland and Warren Sapp, who is a regular analyst on the NFL Network pregame show. All were asked what was wrong with the Bucs.

Brooks said, "Right now, it's a lot of confusion. … The worst thing they can do is question their leadership.''

McFarland said the team has no plan and "they don't believe in their head coach.''

Rice said that not enough players are being accountable, while Sapp said he thinks the problem is that the talent is not utilized correctly.

Rookie RB gets his first start

. Bucs rookie RB Mike James made his first career start in place of Doug Martin, who is out indefinitely with a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

James finished the game with 39 yards on 10 carries.

Selected in the sixth round out of Miami, James came into the game with 57 total yards, 45 of which he had on 14 carries in a 31-23 loss to Atlanta on Sunday. James replaced Martin in that game when Martin went down in the third quarter.

"I think it went okay," James said after the game. "I did some things to help out, but not enough to win. I'm a competitor. No good day is a good day without a W. We just want to finish the game, finish drives, and put ourselves in a position to win. Doug's a Pro Bowl running back, he's a great guy. It's a lot of pressure, but I'm taking it in stride."

. On the Bucs' first drive, QB Mike Glennon threw a short pass to Vincent Jackson on third and 4. Jackson would have had the first down, but he dropped it. It was the beginning of a relatively uneventful night for Tampa Bay's No. 1 receiver. Less than a week after a season-high 10 receptions for 138 yards against Atlanta, Jackson was held to five catches for 79 yards, three catches coming on fourth-quarter drives after the outcome of the game had been decided. Jackson caught a 29-yard pass in the first quarter, then didn't have his second reception until the 5:03 mark of the third quarter.

"They just rolled a safety over the top," Jackson said after the game. "They weren't going to let us get any deep balls on them, and big plays. They did a good job just being physical up front and putting some pressure on the quarterback. That makes it tough for us to get the ball down the field."

Punt, and comeback hopes, fumbled away

. WR Eric Page entered Thursday having done a solid job in handling punt and kick return duties. But with the Bucs already trailing 21-6 in the third quarter, Page muffed a punt at his own 29 yard line and Carolina's Colin Jones recovered. Four plays later, Carolina scored its fourth touchdown of the night, a 3-yard pass from Cam Newton to Mike Tolbert, on the first play of the fourth quarter to put the game away. "I should have caught it," Page said afterward. "There's no excuse."



. One of the major story lines on the NFL Network for Thursday's Bucs-Panthers game was the future of Greg Schiano as Bucs coach. Perhaps those around the country who don't follow the team learned something, but for those who follow the Bucs locally, nothing about the pregame coverage was breaking news.

NFL.com columnist Michael Silver and NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport were on board to say Schiano is a taskmaster, the players aren't crazy about him, and there's "no guarantee'' that Schiano will make it through the season.

Meantime, NFL Network analyst Marshall Faulk said, "I'd have a deaf ear for (Schiano). … It just wouldn't sit well with me if I was a leader on this team.''

The most interesting part of the pregame was a roundtable of former Buc defensive standouts Derrick Brooks, Simeon Rice, Booger McFarland and Warren Sapp, who is a regular analyst on the NFL Network pregame show. All were asked what was wrong with the Bucs.

Brooks said, "Right now, it's a lot of confusion. … The worst thing they can do is question their leadership.''

McFarland said the team has no plan and "they don't believe in their head coach.''

Rice said that not enough players are being accountable, while Sapp said he thinks the problem is that the talent is not utilized correctly.

. On the Bucs' first drive, QB Mike Glennon threw a short pass to Vincent Jackson on third and 4. Jackson would have had the first down, but he dropped it. It was the beginning of a relatively uneventful night for Tampa Bay's No. 1 receiver. Less than a week after catching a season-high 10 receptions for 138 yards against Atlanta, Jackson was held to five catches for 79 yards, three catches coming on fourth-quarter drives after the outcome of the game had been decided. Jackson caught a 29-yard pass in the first quarter, didn't have his second reception until the 5:03 mark of the third quarter.

"They just rolled a safety over the top," Jackson said after the game. "They weren't going to let us get any deep balls on them, and big plays. They did a good job just being physical up front and putting some pressure on the quarterback. That makes it tough for us to get the ball down the field."

Fans let their feelings known

. Bucs fans let coach Greg Schiano have it with "Fire Schiano!" and "Greg's gotta Go!" chants in the fourth quarter, and booing him loudly as he ran off the field. They also had their share of signs, including "Fire Schiano," "Schiano is worse than MRSA," "Make Schiano Walk the Plank," "I want a refund," and "This (stinks!)", with several wearing bags over their heads. " "I think a lot of stuff they said wasn't cool," DT Gerald McCoy said. "I understand being frustrated, but you've still got to have a little class."

Rookie RB gets his first start

. Bucs rookie RB Mike James made his first career start in place of Doug Martin, who is out indefinitely with a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

James finished the game with 39 yards on 10 carries.

Selected in the sixth round out of Miami, James came into the game with 57 total yards, 45 of which he had on 14 carries in a 31-23 loss to Atlanta on Sunday. James replaced Martin in that game when the Pro Bowl player went down in the third quarter.

"I think it went OK," James said after the game. "I did some things to help out, but not enough to win. I'm a competitor. No good day is a good day without a W. We just want to finish the game, finish drives, and put ourselves in a position to win. "Doug's a pro bowl running back, he's a great guy. It's a lot of pressure, but I'm taking it in stride."

 
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