Bucs rout Panthers 32-6 to clinch NFC South title

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold passes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers' quarterback duo of Darnold and Cam Newton failed to produce in the 32-6 loss.(AP Photo/Rusty Jones)


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won their first NFC South title since 2007 on Sunday when Tom Brady threw for 232 yards and a touchdown and Antonio Brown made a grand return to the NFL in a 32-6 rout of the Carolina Panthers.

 

What You Need To Know

Tampa Bay had seven sacks and limited the Panthers to two field goals

Cam Newton started but was replaced by Sam Darnold after throwing an interception. The two quarterbacks split reps the rest of the game

Newton was 7 of 13 for 61 yards and ran for 42 yards. Darnold finished 15 of 33 for 190 yards

The Panther are at New Orleans next week

 

In his first game since Oct. 13 after missing eight games, Brown saw a prominent role on offense with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin sidelined by injuries, catching 10 passes for 101 yards while being targeted 15 times by Brady. Brown has been plagued by an ankle injury and was suspended three games for breaking COVID-19 protocols prior.

Ronald Jones carried 20 times for 65 yards and a touchdown filling in for the injured Leonard Fournette. Tampa Bay also got big offensive contributions from unheralded players Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Cyril Grayson. Vaughn broke two tackles and rambled for a 55-yard first quarter touchdown. Grayson, a COVID-19 replacement player elevated to the active roster, hauled in a 62-yard reception to set up Brady’s only TD pass, a 4-yarder to Cameron Brate.

Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore is tackled by Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Jamel Dean on Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones)

The Bucs (11-4) put up 391 yards on offense after being shut out 9-0 by the New Orleans Saints last week.

The Bucs’ defense had no problems shutting down Carolina’s dual-quarterback approach, even after Pro Bowl linebacker Shaquil Barrett left with a knee injury in the second quarter. Tampa Bay had seven sacks and limited the Panthers (5-10) to two field goals.

Cam Newton started the game but was replaced by Sam Darnold after throwing an interception on Carolina’s second offensive series. The two QBs split reps for the remainder of the game, as coach Matt Rhule had planned last week.

Neither produced.

Newton was 7 of 13 for 61 yards and ran for 42 yards en route to losing his 13th straight game as a Carolina starter, a streak dating back to the 2018 season. Darnold, who was greeted by boos as he entered the game for the first time, finished 15 of 33 for 190 yards.

INJURIES

Buccaneers: Barrett injured his knee in the first half while trying to get to Darnold in the pocket and did not return.

Panthers: Stephon Gilmore became the latest Carolina cornerback to get hit by the injury bug, leaving in the second half with a groin injury. … WR Brandon Zylstra was placed on the COVID-19 list before the game.

UP NEXT

Buccaneers: at the New York Jets next Sunday.

Panthers: at New Orleans next Sunday.



Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.