Brady, Bucs rebound with win over Panthers
Tom Brady threw for three touchdowns and scored on a run and running back Ronald Jones II burst free for a 98-yard touchdown scamper as the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers bounced back for a 46-23 victory against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
The Buccaneers (7-3), who racked up 544 yards of total offense, swept the season series from Carolina, both times following a loss to the New Orleans Saints by beating the Panthers.
Brady, who was coming off one the worst performances of his 21-year career with three interceptions in last Sunday night’s 38-3 home setback to New Orleans, was 28-for-39 for 341 yards.
The Panthers (3-7) lost their fifth consecutive game despite quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s two touchdown passes. He was 18-for-24 for 136 yards and an interception before exiting with a leg or knee injury on a fourth-quarter sack with about five minutes left.
Jones finished with 192 rushing yards on 23 carries, sparking the team’s huge second half.
Leading 20-17, the Buccaneers were backed up at their own 2-yard line. Jones burst up the middle and ended up in the end zone at the other end of the stadium.
On the next snap, Jason Pierre-Paul intercepted Bridgewater. That led to Ryan Succop’s field goal from 21 yards out for a 29-17 lead.
Tampa Bay went up 32-17 on Succop’s fourth field goal of the game, but Trenton Cannon returned the kickoff 98 yards to the Tampa Bay 4. Bridgewater converted on a 3-yard touchdown run with 11:23 remaining, though his two-point conversion pass was incomplete.
The Buccaneers answered with a nine-play 75-yard drive, with Brady scoring on a 1-yard streak. His final TD pass went to Rob Gronkowski for 7 yards.
The teams were tied 17-17 at halftime.
With so much attention on how Brady would respond this week, it was Bridgewater who had a strong start. He completed his first 13 throws, matching a career-best string.
Brady threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans in the back of the end zone as the Buccaneers tied the score with 35 seconds left in the half.
Carolina, playing without injured running back Christian McCaffrey, went up 14-7 on DJ Moore’s 24-yard touchdown play on a receiver screen. That drive took just four plays to cover 75 yards.
Succop hit a 23-yard field goal for Tampa Bay before Joey Slye’s 46-yarder for the Panthers.
Earlier, the Panthers scored first on Bridgewater’s 7-yard pass to Colin Thompson following a Buccaneers turnover. Tampa Bay was even after Brady connected with Cameron Brate, who made a diving 5-yard touchdown catch.
–Field Level Media