Cam Newton said last week he was playing the best football of his career. The Buccaneers only had three interceptions all season.
Both those statements evaporated into the ether Sunday.
The Bucs send the Panthers to a fourth straight loss by picking off Newton four times, taking a 24-17 win at home.
It was an ugly day for a Panthers (6-6) offense which has little margin of error the way their defense has been playing.
But they lost tight end Greg Olsen to a foot injury (the same one which cost him three games earlier this year and nine games last year), and they couldn’t protect Newton well enough for him to make a difference.
Newton was sacked four times but was hit far more often, and without him playing well the Panthers had little chance. He was also replaced for the game-ending Hail Mary attempt, which suggests again that the shoulder that was surgically repaired in March 2017 still isn’t right.
Jameis Winston, on the other hand, played a clean game, throwing for 249 yards and two touchdowns as the Buccaneers improved to 5-7