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Bucs Rest Most; Fall to Carolina 31-23 at Home

Carolina Panthers' Christian Fauria, bottom, pulls in a touchdown pass in front of Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Tanard Jackson (28) during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday Dec. 30, 2007, in Tampa, Fla.

The Tampa Bay Bucs had bigger fish to fry on Sunday, and rather than having players hurt they decided to play it safe and used mostly second and third string players but still hung in and made it a competitive game as they eventually lost 31-23 to the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium.

Matt Moore, who started  once again for the Panthers, went 15-for-24 for 174 yards with two touchdowns and one pick.  The big playmaker though for the Panthers was running back DeAnglo Williams, who ran all day over the Bucs D, going for a season high 121 yards on 20 carries, including two touchdowns.  He also had some key runs that gave the team first downs throughout the contest.   Overall, the Panthers were 7-of-14 on third downs.

For the Buccaneers, they know they have a date next weekend with the New York Giants, so they did the smart thing on Sunday with nothing to play for and sat many of their big name players on both sides of the ball. Sitting out included guys like QB Jeff Garcia, RB Earnest Graham, and wide out Joey Galloway.  Overall the team played it more like a preseason finale, as they put up 303 yards of offense, but the intensity that won them the NFC South simply was not there.

Luke McCown started the game for the Bucs at QB, and went 21-for-28 for 236 yards with two touchdowns and one pick.  The running game was led by McCown as well, as he ran for 47 yards on five carries, including a game long of 31 yards.  Michael Bennett carried the load overall for the Bucs, rushing for 39 yards on 15 carries.

Carolina built a 17-13 halftime lead with two Moore TD passes and a John Kasay short field goal.  The Bucs came back with a Bennett TD from McCown to go up 20-17 in the third quarter.  From there, Williams started to really take over, as he first went in from a yard out to make it 24-20, and then after a Matt Bryant field goal made it 24-23, he raced in from 32 yards out with 6:24 left to finish off the Bucs at 31-23.

Tampa Bay will sit back and start getting set for next weekends playoff showdown with the Giants at home as they will start with film study on Monday and then get to work with practice on Wednesday.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Matt Tracy

    January 1, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Nice site! I write NY Giants at my site, and I was just looking for Bucs blogs or fan sites to see what people are saying about my G-Men.

    I am expecting a nice fight this week, and not because I am a Giants fan, but because of several reasons, I pick the Giants to beat Tampa.

    I know Tampa does fairly well at home, but the Giants are even better on the road, winning 7 straight games. Eli Manning is coming off a terrific performance against the Patriots and I believe the Giants have what it takes to get to the next level (Divisional playoffs) and give QB Eli Manning his first career playoff victory.

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