Bucs extend lead to 19-6 before halftime

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers
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The Buccaneers offense doesn’t look quite as smooth as they’d probably like it to look, but they’ve hit a couple of big plays and scored on four of their five possessions so far on Sunday.

The second of those big plays came just before halftime when Tom Brady hit wide receiver Cyril Grayson for a 62-yard gain on a first down after a Carolina punt. The Bucs were able to score on a four-yard pass to tight end Cameron Brate that extended their lead to 19-6. They went for two after a Panthers offside penalty, but failed to convert so it remains a 13-point lead at the break.

Grayson is seeing time with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin out of the lineup and running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn also made the most of his opportunity. Vaughn is playing because Leonard Fournette is out of action and he opened the Tampa scoring with a 55-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

Brady is 12-of-18 for 156 yards with seven of the receptions coming from Antonio Brown in his return to the lineup.

The Panthers have done as promised and given both Cam Newton and Sam Darnold time at quarterback. Darnold’s first completion was a 63-yarder to Shi Smith, but the drive only netted a field goal. They burned a timeout after Newton returned on the next play and then gained two yards on two plays before turning back to Darnold, who was sacked on third down.

Newton threw an interception to Jordan Whitehead and is 6-of-9 for 52 yards with 42 rushing yards. Darnold is 4-of-6 for 75 yards, but the overall output has remained disappointing for the Carolina offense.

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