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Panthers 48, Buccaneers 16

There is only one game left.
Things started promisingly, with Josh Freeman hitting on 12 of his first 13 passes. Of course, few Buccaneers fans were convinced. It predictably submerged into a comedy of errors.

Losing this badly may bring radical change
This is the kind of game where, in Pop Warner, they would have enacted the mercy rule. Losing by a little bit can cause false hope in the players currently on the roster. Getting throttled by a 3-win Jaguars team with an interim, first-time head coach and rookie QB, then being throttled by a 5-win Panthers team with a rookie quarterback – albeit the best ever – and rookie head coach in a 3-week span should be enough to overhaul this team. That’s especially true when you consider all the other games with bad execution, bad tackling, and failed adjustments.



The offense
In usual Bucs fashion, the offense dropped 16 points on a team that allows 26.3 a game, turned the ball over twice and settled for a field goal in just their first four possessions.

The defense
Big plays led to 4 TDs allowed in the 3rd quarter. While 3 of these drives were under 33 yards, there is no justifying the Panthers scoring on 8 of their first 9 drives. Newton was inevitably going to break Peyton Manning’s record for passing yards in this game, but the Buccaneers helped him set a career watermark with 48 points of offense scored, gave Brandon Lafell his first 100 yard game for a career-high 103 yards, and the 433 yards of offense was the most for Carolina since week 4. Four Panthers averaged over 9.4 ypc, with five Panthers getting a least one carry of 9 yards or more.

The turnovers
Losing the turnover battle 4 to 0 is nothing new for the Bucs, but it’s still horrible.

The 2011 Buccaneers season
I’ve always liked Raheem Morris, and I’ve always liked Josh Freeman, Mike Williams, LeGarrette Blount and Ronde Barber. That said, this team reminds me of the Vikings in that they can’t even get slightly-below-average help around these good players. If they had not have teased fans with a 10-win season last year, brought almost all the starters on offense and defense back, and started 4-2, then it wouldn’t sting this much to lose 9 games in a row. Thankfully, Freeman still loves football and plays with a chip on his shoulder. I still think he can be the man going into next season, but they should let Josh Johnson or someone else compete for the job.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Buccaneers will go for the season sweep of the Falcons. I wouldn’t bet on it, but I believe their next head coach might be at that game (Brian VanGorder or maybe Mike Mularkey) .

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  1. Pingback: Great Buccaneers Articles For December 26, 2011 « Buccaneers – NFC South Daily

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