2-Point Conversion: Shaq Attack & Buccaneers Defense Dominant In Carolina

It’s time for PewterReport.com’s 2-Point Conversion post-game column, which features two statements, two questions and two predictions based on the latest Bucs game. The Bucs pulled a major upset in Carolina, stealing a road win in the division by beating the Panthers, 20-14, and keeping Cam Newton, Christian McCaffrey and others out of the end zone.

2 BIG STATEMENTS

STATEMENT 1: Shaq Attack, Bucs Defense Dominant In Carolina

Oh what a difference a year makes for Tampa Bay’s defense.

The last time the Bucs were in Carolina the Panthers ran roughshod over them, racing out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and held a 35-7 advantage over Tampa Bay just minutes before halftime in a 42-28 thrashing. Christian McCaffrey compiled 157 total yards and ran for two touchdowns last year.

Oh what a difference Todd Bowles makes.

Bowles’ Bucs defense put the clamps on McCaffrey and Carolina’s potent offense in Tampa Bay’s 20-14 win, holding the Panthers to just four field goals and McCaffrey to 37 yards rushing and 16 yards receiving. Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III was the hero with a stop for no gain on fourth-and-1 from the Tampa Bay 2-yard. Hargreaves had a career-high – and team-high – 12 tackles on Thursday night.

The Bucs’ improved defense held the Panthers to 3-of-14 (21 percent) third down conversions and 0-of-3 on fourth down conversions. Carolina’s ground game was held to just 39 yards with quarterback Cam Newton rushed twice for zero yards and was sacked three times by new outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, who recorded all three sacks in the third quarter, including two on back-to-back plays to force a Carolina punt. Barrett also came up with a big QB pressure on fourth-and-1 at the Tampa Bay 46 to force an incompletion by Newton and a turnover on downs.

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