The Buccaneers stopped the Panthers on fourth-and-1 early. They stopped them on fourth-and-1 late.
And at least for a moment, they stopped being the Bucs as we knew them.
After stopping Cam Newton in his tracks for a 20-14 win last night, the Buccaneers are hoping others notice the change.
“It’s crazy how it came down to a fourth-and-1, but absolutely, we’ve talked about how we want to forge a new identity for us, and I think we’re on our way to that,” Bucs defensive tackle Beau Allen said, via Greg Auman of TheAthletic.com. “You don’t want to toot your own horn too much two games into the season, but I think we’ve come a long way. We have a lot of guys who have stepped up and made plays.”
The Bucs gave up yards (343) but not the kind that mattered. They held the Panthers to 3-of-14 conversions on third down and 0-of-3 on fourth, and didn’t allow a touchdown. But holding their nemesis to 39 rushing yards stopped any chance the Panthers might have had. Outside linebacker Shaq Barrett also had three sacks, disrupting a Panthers line that clearly needs work.
The Bucs have won a single road game each of the last two seasons, and they were giving up an average of 31 points per game on the road, so this was a relief.
Coach Bruce Arians also said that first-round rookie linebacker Devin White‘s absence wouldn’t be a long one (he left with a knee injury), so the night was nearly perfect for them.