Analysis

Buccaneers’ Offensive Struggles Continue, Lose to Short-Handed Panthers

Short-handed after trading their best offensive player and No. 2 receiver earlier in the week, the Carolina Panthers stunned Tampa Bay, 21-3, in Charlotte on Sunday, as the Buccaneers’ offensive struggles continued.

The Panthers (2-5) held the Buccaneers (3-4) to just 322 total offensive yards (290 passing, 46 rushing). The Panthers’ defense dominated on third downs, holding the Buccaneers to just two conversions on 12 attempts.

Buccaneers QB Tom Brady finished 32-of-49 with no touchdowns, marking the first time since Brady joined Tampa Bay that the Bucs scored fewer than 20 points in back-to-back games.

This loss also marks Tampa’s second two-game losing streak of the season. Coming into the year, the Buccaneers’ last two-game losing streak was in 2020.

“If you don’t execute your job well, it doesn’t matter who is on the other side,” Brady said in his post-game press conference. “It’s about fundamentals.”

Tampa Bay’s best drive came late in the third quarter when Brady finally got the Buccaneers into the red zone, trailing 14-0. However, the drive stalled, and Tampa Bay ended up kicking a field goal despite trailing by multiple scores.

The decision came back to bite the Buccaneers almost immediately as the Panthers drove right down the field for a touchdown courtesy of tight end Tommy Tremble, which made the score 21-3.

The Panthers’ offense got a huge boost from RB D’Onta Foreman, who replaced the recently traded Christian McCaffrey and finished with 118 rushing yards. Chubba Hubbard contributed 63 yards and a touchdown.

This was the first win for interim coach Steve Wilks, who took over for Matt Rhule less than two weeks ago. Carolina also managed to overcome starting third-string quarterback P.J. Walker with Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold still recovering from ankle injuries.

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