NFL Wire News

Panthers 19, Buccaneers 17


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Even without a sustained touchdown drive, quarterback Derek Anderson of the Carolina Panthers orchestrated his second victory of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 19-17 outcome Sunday afternoon at Bank of America Stadium.

Graham Gano kicked four field goals, including one from 45 yards out with 8:31 remaining for a 19-10 lead, and the Panthers needed to go only 4 yards for their lone touchdown.

Anderson, filling in because Cam Newton was injured in an automobile wreck five days earlier, completed 25 of 40 passes for 277 yards.

The Panthers (5-8-1) won for the second week in a row and they will be in first place in the NFC South if the New Orleans Saints lose Monday night at Chicago.

Tampa Bay quarterback Josh McCown scrambled 16 yards for a touchdown with 3:11 left. The Buccaneers did not get the ball back until 23 seconds remaining at their own 9-yard line.

Anderson completed 13 of 28 passes for 154 yards, but he was intercepted by linebacker Luke Kuechly with six seconds to play.

Three plays into the second half, McCown fumbled as he was sacked by defensive end Mario Addison and the Panthers recovered at the Tampa Bay 4. Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery made a diving 2-yard touchdown reception from Anderson.

The Panthers had a chance to build on their 16-10 lead when reaching the Tampa Bay 3, but running back Jonathan Stewart’s fumble was recovered by defensive tackle Akeem Spence at the 8-yard line.

Carolina punted twice after taking possession two more times in Tampa Bay territory in the third quarter.

Anderson threw an interception early in the fourth quarter, but a roughing-the-passer penalty on defensive end Larry English negated that play. Tampa Bay would have had possession around the Carolina 30.

It was the fourth loss in a row for the Buccaneers (2-12), who were eliminated from playoff contention with last week’s loss at Detroit.

Running back Doug Martin gained 96 yards on 14 carries for Tampa Bay.

Anderson, who improved to 20-25 as an NFL starter, was the opening-day starter because Newton was coming off offseason surgery. That game also came against Tampa Bay as he went 24-for-34 for 230 yards and two touchdowns in the first meeting.

This time, Tampa Bay took a 10-9 halftime lead on Patrick Murray’s 48-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half.

Carolina moved into Tampa Bay territory on all four first-half possessions, picking up three Gano field goals. His 38-yarder with 1:10 to play in the half gave the Panthers a short-lived 9-7 edge.

The Panthers used up almost seven minutes on the game’s first drive, but settled for Gano’s 29-yard field goal.

Tampa Bay went ahead 7-3 when McCown threw 8 yards to receiver Mike Evans, who outleaped cornerback Josh Norman for the ball in the end zone. Martin’s 63-yard run accounted for most of the yards on the five-play drive.

Gano connected later in the first quarter from 49 yards out but he was wide left from 50 yards out early in the second quarter.

Midway through the second quarter, Tampa Bay dropped out of field-goal range on defensive end Kony Ealy’s strip of McCown on third down even though the Buccaneers recovered the fumble.

NOTES: The Buccaneers had LB Jason Williams, who was released by the Panthers earlier this month, in their lineup. He made the tackle on a first-quarter kickoff. … QB Josh McCown of the Buccaneers played in two games in 2008 for Carolina. … Tampa Bay’s defense was without injured starters LB Mason Foster and DT Clinton McDonald. Then, the Buccaneers lost DT Gerald McCoy to a knee injury in the first quarter and CB Isaiah Frey later in the game. … The Panthers added LB Kevin Reddick to the active roster from the practice squad, waiving LB Horace Miller. … The Buccaneers finish the season with two home games, beginning next week vs. Green Bay and the finale against New Orleans. … The Panthers play their home finale next week against Cleveland.

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