The Bucs were within 10 points of the Panthers when the second half got underway, but it wasn’t a competitive game much beyond that.
Carolina scored four straight touchdowns and rolled to a 48-16 victory on Saturday in Charlotte. We’ve covered some of Cam Newton’s highlights from this one already, but he added two more passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in a completely dominant performance. The win guarantees the Panthers will finish in third place this season and will raise hopes of a bigger leap next season. They’ll need a better defense, but they’ve got quarterback taken care of and that’s a pretty nice place to be after last season.
As for the Bucs, it’s getting really hard to think that they won’t be starting over with a new quarterback next year. Tampa has regressed terribly this season under Raheem Morris and he doesn’t seem to have any clue about how to turn things back around. This was their ninth straight loss and the team hasn’t been competitive in far too many of those losses to make the case that Morris is on the right track.
That’s the track Carolina is on, thanks in large part to the guy they took first overall back in April.