The Buccaneers had driven for what would have been a crushing touchdown drive.
But after Doug Martin fumbled into the end zone for a touchback, the Panthers drove 80 yards in seven plays, with Cam Newton hitting Brandon LaFell on a 29-yard touchdown pass to take a 21-10 lead over the Bucs in the fourth quarter.
Whether Martin had crossed the plane with the ball before it came out was worth another look, but the best angle they had on television was obscured by the line judge. Without enough evidence to overturn the ruling on the field of a fumble, the Panthers caught a break they needed badly.
Both defenses have played well, or both quarterbacks poorly, and it’s hard to imagine anyone scoring twice in a hurry.