Sports

Jameis Winston freaks out on the field after Tampa falls to Carolina

Jameis Winston freaks out on the field after Tampa falls to Carolina

It was a 10-play, 59-yard drive.

The win was a big one for the Panthers as they improved to 11-4 and clinched a playoff berth in the process. On the ensuing drive, Jameis Winston fumbled on the first play after a sack from Kawann Short.

But defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, normally a stalwart on the defensive line, committed a personal foul on center Joe Hawley and the penalties offset, costing the Panthers a safety and giving Tampa another third down shot.

Carolina's secondary also struggled against a Tampa Bay receiving corps that was missing DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard to injury, gashing the Panthers for multiple chunk gains that featured missed tackles, pass interference flags aplenty and sloppy coverage.

Winston did well to keep plays alive while being under siege in the pocket.

The difference in the game was three plays, really.

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Cam Newton (who came back after an injury in the southern region) is 5/6 for 53 yards, along with 20 yards rushing on eight carries. Ganos third field goal cut the Bucs lead to 16-15.

After scoring the game-winning touchdown, Newton used the football as a prop and acted as if it were a birthday cake.

Improbably, he dribbled the shotgun snap onto the ground on his touchdown run, then picked the ball up and scored from two yards out with 35 seconds to go. Instead, Carolina made it by about an inch. He had a 70-yard pass to Chris Godwin and a 36-yard heave to Adam Humphries in the first half, but neither drive ended in a touchdown. It's conceivable that will be the last home game Richardson ever attends as the Panthers' owner.

Speedy receiver Damiere Byrd torched Tampa Bay's kick return coverage for a 103-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Carolina converted a fourth down on the play prior to the touchdown, needing 1 yard after the Buccaneers jumped offside.

Greg Olsen: Tampa Bay, cognizant of the fact that Olsen had averaged 98 yards against the Bucs in their past four trips to Charlotte, often bracketed him with double coverage and mostly took him out of the game.


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