Week 14 Game Recap: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20, Carolina Panthers 10
What you need to know
RB Cadillac Williams flashed the combination of power and quickness that we saw earlier in the season. Williams hit holes quickly breaking tackles in the secondary for a handful of longer runs. Williams had 29 carries in the game compared to only a few for backup running backs Mike Alstott and Michael Pittman.
QB Chris Simms was sharp and efficient with the short passing game, particularly on third down. Tampa Bay was 10-17 converting third downs in the game. Simms passing statistics would have been better if not for an inordinate number of drops by his wide receiving corps.
RB DeShaun Foster was the focal point of the Panthers’ offense at the beginning of the game. Foster was force-fed the ball on the ground as well as two early passing targets. However, the lead built by the Tampa offense and the Panther inability to convert third downs kept the Carolina running attack in check. Foster had only two rushing attempts in the second half.
WR Steve Smith was the only Carolina wide receiver targeted with a pass through three quarters. Smith produced three big plays, but only one led to Carolina points.
Playing in a conservative offense early in the game hamstrung QB Jake Delhomme. The Carolina offense falls apart when playing from behind after their running game gets shut down. The Carolina defense did keep the game close into the fourth quarter, but the Delhomme interception deep in Tampa Bay territory put the game out of reach.
What you ought to know
|QB Chris Simms, Pass: 20 - 27 - 138 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0|
Simms ran an efficient and productive short passing game in the first half. He took lots of three steps drops getting rid off the ball quickly. Simms connected on 15 of his 19 first attempts. Five of Simms first six incomplete passes were dropped. Because the Buccaneers built a lead and were attempting to control the flow of the game with RB Cadillac Williams, Simms only attempted five passes (four complete, one drop) in the entire second half.
Williams found little room to run on his first few carries. He was hit and dropped at the line off scrimmage on three of his first four carries. However, he exploded through the left side of the line for a 14 yard touchdown run at the conclusion of the second Buccaneers possession. Other than a nice eight yard run Williams had a tough time finding room to run in the first half. The second half was a different story. Williams flashed more of the combination of power and quickness he displayed early in the season. He had an impressive 16 yard run off the left side breaking a tackle and keeping his feet churning for extra yards. He followed this up with a similar ten yard run for a touchdown on the same drive.
|RB Mike Alstott, Rush: 4 - 2 - 0, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (2 targets)|
Alstott saw only spot duty including short yardage situations. He was unable to convert his one third and one carry.
Pittman relieved starting RB Cadillac Williams for just two carries picking up only one yard. However, he did pulling in both of his passing targets.
Hilliard came to life during the second quarter pulling in all four his first half targets. QB Chris Simms used Hilliard in short underneath routes to convert multiple third downs. Hilliard opened the second half for the Buccaneers similarly catching a third down pass in the left flat and running for a first down after breaking a tackle.
Galloway caught a quick seven yard hitch on the first Tampa Bay series setting up a third and short. On the following play Galloway ran a fly route and had CB Ken Lucas beat deep, but QB Chris Simms put the ball a bit too far out in front of him. On the second Buccaneers possession Galloway caught a deep cross to convert a third and ten and quickly followed that up with a slant that converted a third and seven. Galloway ran mostly underneath routes all game long. He dropped two passes in the game.
Clayton dropped his first target in the first quarter. He pulled in a slant on a third down in traffic for a first down midway through the second quarter.
Smith caught all three of his first half targets and was tackled immediately after the catch on each reception.
Bryant hit both of his field goal attempts in the game.
RB DeShaun Foster popped his two longest runs on his first two carries, and then the Tampa Bay front seven went to work. Foster was hit in the backfield and at the line of scrimmage on too many plays to count. Once the Buccaneers built up a lead the Panthers began to give up on running the ball.
QB Jake Delhomme was sacked twice in the game. The Buccaneers’ pass rush was intense at times, but overall inconsistent. They weren’t able to force Delhomme into making any mistakes from applying pressure. Of note, CB Ronde Barber became the first defensive back to record at least 20 career interceptions and 20 career sacks.
|QB Jake Delhomme, Pass: 21 - 33 - 220 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0|
Delhomme wasn’t given much of a chance early in the game. The Panthers brain trust kept the offense very conservative force-feeding the ball to RB DeShaun Foster. Delhomme only attempted nine passes in the first half. A large chunk of his passing statistics came on the final two Carolina possessions. Delhomme racked up lots of garbage statistics including his touchdown pass to WR Ricky Proehl. His interception at the start of the fourth quarter was a poor decision. His receiver (Proehl) was covered and the pass shouldn’t have been thrown.
The Panthers opened the game trying to get Foster the ball as much as possible. Eleven of the first fifteen Panther offensive play were called for Foster (ten runs, one pass). His first two carries went for eight and 15 yards off right guard, but the Tampa Bay defense quickly shored up the holes and began hitting him at the line of scrimmage and in the backfield. Foster only had two rushing attempts in the entire second half.
Davis didn’t have a first half carry as RB DeShaun Foster was the focus of the Carolina offense. Davis entered the game at the start of the third quarter and gave the Panther a big boost with a 20 yard run off left tackle on third and three. However, on the next series Davis was shut down on consecutive short yardage carries turning the ball over on downs.
Smith opened the game with pulling in a short hitch against CB Ken Lucas. Lucas missed the tackle and allowed Smith to sprint down the sideline for 23 yards. His second reception was a similar play, but Smith couldn’t break free. In the second quarter Smith took a huge hit on a crossing route. Smith stayed on the field for a bit catching his breath after taking the shoulder to his upper chest. Smith got the Panthers’ offense going in the second half. He made a nice catch on the sideline and turned it up field for 60 yards. The cornerback took a bad angle on the play possibly thinking interception and allowed Smith to break free for the big gain. After the defense did their job Smith followed up his big reception with a great 44 yard punt return. Smith was the only Carolina wide receiver to be targeted in the first three quarters of the game.
Proehl wasn’t targeted in the first half, but he was being used at the Panthers’ third receiver in three wide receiver sets ahead of WR Rod Gardner. Proehl sustained what looked like a minor injury in the second quarter and was seen limping on the sideline, but was able to give Steve Smith a breather at the start of the fourth quarter. Proehl was the target when QB Jake Delhomme threw his fourth quarter inception. All four of Proehl’s other targets including his late touchdown were garbage statistics. The game was well in hand for Tampa Bay and the additional yardage and points were inconsequential in terms of who would win or lose.
Colbert started the game, but didn’t see a first half target. All three of his targets occurred on the Panthers final possession.
Gardner didn’t see the field much in the first half. He was playing behind WR Ricky Proehl as the Panthers fourth wide receiver. His only target came on the final Panthers possession.
After not seeing a target at all last week, Mangum was targeted four times in the first half. He caught his first target for a short gain, but there was a defensive penalty on the play that the Panthers accepted. Mangum also pulled in consecutive targets in the second quarter. His final to targets were both in garbage time. The last one was in the end zone. A Tampa Bay linebacker made a nice play to tip the ball and prevent the touchdown.
Kasay missed from 42 yards early in the game, but hit his 39 yard attempt in the second half to get the Panthers on the score board for the first time.
RB Cadillac Williams topped 100 yards rushing, but the Carolina defense made him work hard to get it. Williams was kept in check for the most part gaining only one, two, or three yards on most of his carries. However, Williams was able to get into the secondary on several carries as well. The Buccaneers were relentless in feeding the ball to Williams.
The Panthers weren’t able to get the Tampa Bay offense off the field on third down. Further, they weren’t able to pressure on QB Chris Simms. Simms was sacked once, but on most plays Simms was getting rid of the ball too quickly. The Buccaneers’ receivers were running short slants, outs, and hitches while spreading the field from sideline to sideline.