Bucs limit Panthers to 244 yards but allow ‘way too many points’
The Tampa Tribune, published 4 October 2015

On paper, Tampa Bay’s defense probably deserved a better fate Sunday. But in the locker room, Bucs players didn’t want to hear any excuses.

“Way too many points,’’ Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said after Carolina won 37-23. “If you are in New York right now and look at the scoreboard and you see 37, you’d be like, ‘Dang, they killed their defense.’”

In beating their division rivals for the fifth consecutive time, the unbeaten Panthers capitalized on five takeaways. Cornerback Josh Norman got the party rolling with a 46-yard interception return for his second touchdown of the young season.

“We played a good game, but turnovers hurt you bad in this league,’’ Tampa Bay defensive end George Johnson said. “On defense, we didn’t take the ball away enough. When they have good field position, we can’t let them have seven points. When something bad happens to our offense, we have to fix it.’’

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was kept in check, throwing for only 124 yards. But he hurt the Bucs with his legs, carrying 12 times for 51 yards. He was sacked twice, but did not throw an interception.

“That was my first time playing against Newton,’’ said Bucs defensive end Jacquies Smith, who posted two quarterback hits and chased Newton all over a soggy field. “He’s big and strong and he can make all the throws. He made enough plays — and we didn’t.’’