Bucs ride four takeaways to victory over Carolina
Eduardo Encina, Tampa Bay Times, published 3 December 2018

The Bucs didn't play a perfect game Sunday, but their four interceptions of Carolina's Cam Newton were enough to beat their division rival 24-17 Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. After opening the season 3-7, Tampa Bay has won the turnover battle the past two weeks at home, and won both games.

Combine that with a second mistake-free game from Jameis Winston, who didn't commit a turnover and threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns on 20-for-30 passing. The Bucs (5-7) recorded just one interception in their first 10 games, but have five in their last two.

This was the first time the Bucs have recorded at least four interceptions in a game since Dec. 8, 2013 against the Bills. And Sunday marked the first time the Bucs recorded at least four takeaways since getting five on Nov. 19, 2017 at Miami. The Bucs took advantage, scoring 10 points off their four takeaways.

Tampa Bay's secondary continued to be ravaged by injuries. Cornerbacks Brent Grimes, Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart watched from the sideline and safeties Justin Evans and Isaiah Johnson were knocked out during the game. But other defensive backs stepped up. Safety Andrew Adams made three interceptions, just the second time since 2011 that a player has made three picks in a game.

Adams also became first Bucs player with three interceptions since Aqib Talib has three on Oct. 4, 2009 at Washington. It was just the fourth time in franchise history that a Bucs player recorded three interceptions in a game. Ronde Barber accomplished it twice. Cornerback Javien Elliott also recorded hit first professional interception.

Two of Adams' interceptions squashed Panthers drives that could have tied the game in the second half. The Bucs took a 10-point lead at halftime onWinston's 13-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin in the right corner of the end zone with 13 seconds remaining. With the pass, Winston broke Josh Freeman's franchise record for career touchdown passes with his 81st.

The score came after Elliott intercepted Newton in the red zone, the Bucs' second interception of the game and their fourth over the past two games after having just one interception over the first 10 games of the season.

The Bucs committed one turnover, a costly fumble inside the Panthers' 1-yard line in the second quarter as running back Peyton Barber lost the ball attempting to extend his arm over the goal line. The Bucs took the first lead of the game on Winston's three-yard touchdown pass to Adam Humphries, capping a 75-yard scoring drive that included 27 rushing yards from Barber. Humphries logged his fifth receiving touchdown of the season, setting a career-high. Three of his touchdowns catches this season have been against the Panthers.

Tampa Bay also took advantage of an early takeaway when Cairo Santos hit a 35-yard field goal following Adams' interception. On the play, outside linebacker Lavonte David deflected Newton's pass intended for D.J. Moore into the air, where Adams corralled the ball and returned it 16 yards to the Carolina 20.

The Panthers came within three with a quick touchdown 72-yard touchdown drive capped by a eight-yard touchdown pass into the flat to Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey's 53-yard run down the left sideline was the key play to that drive. The Bucs drove to the Carolina 4-yard line before the Barber fumbles reaching into the end zone. The play was confirmed after a replay review.