The Carolina Panthers defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21-3 behind an impressive showing from quarterback PJ Walker.
Walker passed for 177 yards and two touchdowns on a 16-for-22 day. In his four career starts, the Temple product improved to 3-1.
The one negative that must be discussed, as always bad first then the good, was how the Tampa Bay receivers exploited the secondary at times. From the first drive for the Bucs, Evans beat the secondary. Tom Brady launched it deep and it bounced out of Evans’ hands. It was nothing but a fortunate thing for the Panthers as Evans got behind the defense. There was another moment early in the third quarter where Chris Godwin exploited the defense. On a 3rd and 2, Brady fired deep to the left for Godwin, but he overthrew his receiver. Godwin dove for the ball, but came short, and it was another break for the Panthers. Later in the third quarter, Brady connected with Evans three times for 40 yards.
While the secondary looked weak at times, Godwin and Evans are some of the best in the game.Tom Brady is considered the best QB, so to look weak at times against these players is forgivable. Especially when you hold the Bucs to three points.
The offense looked more balanced than previous contests. This could be due to trading McCaffrey away. As good as he was, the Panthers relied on him arguably too much in the running and passing attack. The game against the Bucs saw a healthy mix of passing and running.
D’Onta Foreman played sensationally. He broke off a 60-yard run late in the third quarter and a great 27-yard run early in the fourth. Both of these runs set up Carolina for touchdown drives. Overall, Foreman rushed for 118 yards on 15 carries. He hauled in two catches for 23 yards as well.
In the passing game, DJ Moore posted 69 yards on seven catches and a touchdown. This was the most yards he posted this season, and the seven catches was a new season-high. This was his first touchdown since the game against the New York Giants.
Chuba Hubbard ran for 63 yards on nine carries, including a 17-yard score. In the season up to this game, Hubbard saw only six carries. It was great to see the running game take a more balanced approach that involved Hubbard more.
Carolina fought Tampa Bay hard in the first half. The Panthers held the Bucs to 126 total yards and nine first downs for a 7-0 lead at halftime.
The Panthers defense stuffed the running game as it allowed 46 yards on the ground. The average rushing yards Carolina surrendered at one point hovered around 137, now the average sits at almost 121. In the last three Carolina surrendered an average of 103.3 rushing yards per game.
With a head of steam after a great win, the Panthers head south for a game with the Atlanta Falcons. Carolina must plug the holes in the secondary Tampa Bay exploited if it the team wants to make it two in a row.
The game kicks off on Sunday at 1 p.m.