Sep 7, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) is pressured by Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) during the third quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
For the second time this season, the Buccaneers will face Derek Anderson and the Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers’ star QB Cam Newton had a rib injury that kept him out of the season opener in September, and miraculously escaped a scary car accident with only minor fractures in his back this past week. While he could still return to the Panthers this season, he will not suit up against the Buccaneers this afternoon.
Either way, Anderson is completely capable of turning this Tampa Bay defense into swiss cheese; he did it in Week One with a stellar performance, leading Carolina to a victory on the road. Now, with the playoffs still in sight for the Panthers, and the game in the friendly confines of their own stadium, we might see similar results.
The last time these two met, Tampa Bay failed to get enough pressure on the Panthers’ back up quarterback. They might have a hard time doing it today as well, as both Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald (the Bucs’ starting DTs) are questionable with injuries.
At this point in the season, it is almost as if the Buccaneers are trying to find ways to lose games. Head coach Lovie Smith continues to stick with Josh McCown when it is clear to everyone else that McCown always seems to make the big mistake in crunch time. Marcus Arroyo always has to call a timeout after a commercial timeout because the offense wasn’t prepared even after the given time. The offensive line blocks for their skill players like each of them slept with one of their sisters.
And to put the cherry on top, penalties always seem to take the Buccaneers out of favorable scenarios. To date, they have committed 107 penalties for 857 yards. That is not going to win you any football games.
The Panthers are going to want to run the ball today, but they will have to do so without DeAngelo Williams, as he is listed as doubtful with a hand injury. That means Jonathan Stewart will be doing the heavily lifting for the Panthers’ backfield, and he is certainly no slouch. Carolina would ideally like to get Anderson favorable play action one-on-one’s for Kelvin Benjamin, the Panthers’ star rookie wide receiver. He had a great NFL debut against the Bucs, and would definitely like to continue that.
As for our Buccaneers, the gameplan goes unchanged: try and run the football, limit mistakes, get pressure on Anderson, and get the ball to Mike Evans. While this game only has consequences in the draft order for Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers could play spoiler today and keep the Panthers out of contention for back-to-back NFC South titles.
We’ll get a low-scoring affair today, and I would love to predict a Buccaneer win, but when I think about how Tampa Bay will face Derek Anderson again, I think about this famous saying: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
Shame on us, Tampa Bay…because I don’t see this one ending any differently than the first.
Final score: Carolina Panthers 20, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13.