Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Panthers Defense Fails in Loss

George AndersonAnalyst IINovember 14, 2010

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 14:  Running back LeGarrette Blount #27 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is tackled by defender Charles Johnson #95 of the Carolina Panthers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 14, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

Well, surprisingly, the Carolina Panthers lost again. The only difference was that the defense was responsible for the loss for maybe the first time all season.

The defense was torched today as Josh Freeman reestablished his dominance over the Panthers. He was 18/24 with 241 yards passing, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He was only sacked once and looked like he was in a comforter, he was so relaxed.

If Freeman wasn’t dominating through the air, LeGarrette Blount and Cadillac Williams were dominating on the ground. Blount rushed for 91 yards and touchdown; Williams did not do much all game, but his 45-yard touchdown run ended any hope the Panthers had. Overall, the Panthers allowed 421 total yards of offense and the dominant defense of the first six games looks to have called it a season.

At the end of the first half, Freeman put the ball in between two Carolina defenders and Kellen Winslow Jr. still caught the touchdown. This was just another sign that Carolina’s season will continue to be troubled.

There were some positive notes for a change.

First, our Special Teams, mainly our coverage unit, was great. The Bucs averaged just 15 yards per kickoff return and averaged just two yards per return. This is a vast improvement from our unit just a year ago, when if they held the returner to the 30, it was good coverage.

The other positive note was our offense, which had a pretty good performance. The Panthers got their first 100-yard rusher of the season, Mike Goodson. Goodson averaged almost five yards per carry, but his fumble on the first drive of the game was costly, as it led to a touchdown. He did well, though, and maybe now the running game will gain more confidence.

Jimmy Clausen and the passing game improved, but it needs to show up before the game is over next time. Clausen threw for 191 yards with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also did not fumble any snaps. The Panthers actually won the turnover battle for a change, even though they did not win the game.

The receivers were decent as Smith caught a ball before the fourth quarter, LaFell showed up for a little while, but none have yet to step up and dominate this season. The Panthers had to settle for field goals when they needed touchdowns, and I hope Red Zone offense is worked on heavily this week.

The offense was improved but still lacking, the defense is where the offense had been all season, and now that Buffalo has a win the No. 1 pick is all but ours.