Sep 20, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Carolina Panthers cornerback Corn Elder (29) breaks up a pass intended for Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Justin Watson (17) during the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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Brady licking wounds, McCaffrey out in Bucs-Panthers II

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers might need to get their minds right heading into their Week 10 game. For the Carolina Panthers, attention again focuses, in part, on having their bodies in proper condition.

The NFC South teams meet Sunday afternoon in Charlotte, N.C., both seeking turnarounds of varying degrees.

“For us, win the next one because we’re sitting in a pretty good spot,” Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said. “It could have been better.”

That’s an understatement after the Buccaneers (6-3) suffered a blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints. The 38-3 result Sunday night marked the most-lopsided loss in a game started by quarterback Tom Brady in his 21 seasons in the NFL.

“We’re 6-3 and I wish we were a lot better than that,” Brady said. “We have to get better, starting with me.”

By some accounts, the Buccaneers might be rattled by their latest performance.

Brady threw three interceptions in a game for the first time since throwing four against Buffalo nine years ago. The arrival of receiver Antonio Brown for his debut with the Buccaneers didn’t produce much as he made three catches for 31 yards.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay set an NFL record for fewest rushing attempts in a game with five — and one of those was a kneel-down to end the game.

“Everybody is pissed off. It can’t carry over,” Arians said. “I don’t think our confidence is shaken one bit. You don’t bury your head in the sand.”

The Panthers (3-6), who are trying to shed a four-game losing streak, have concerns after a failed upset bid – a 33-31 loss — at Kansas City. Running back Christian McCaffrey has landed on the injury report with a shoulder ailment sustained on the game’s final drive. Coach Matt Rhule said Wednesday that he probably won’t play.

“You always want all your guys out there,” Carolina quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said.

McCaffrey compiled 151 yards from scrimmage (82 receiving, 69 rushing) against the Chiefs. His two touchdowns give him 15 multi-touchdown games in his career, including in all three games he has appeared in this season.

Before facing the Chiefs, McCaffrey had missed six consecutive games since suffering an ankle injury in the first meeting with Tampa Bay. That was a Week 2 encounter with the Buccaneers claiming a 31-17 home victory.

And just like at the beginning of the season, Tampa Bay follows a loss to the Saints with a matchup against Carolina.

“The biggest lesson is that we need everybody, week to week. Week to week, we’re going to need everybody to be on their ‘A’ game,” Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David said. “We honestly feel that (the Panthers) present a challenge to us, so we’ve got to be able to get better and be able to play a full four quarters of fundamentally sound, smart football.”

Until recent weeks, Bridgewater had never lost three consecutive games as a starter — and now that has grown to four straight.

“You’re playing well in these games and coming up short,” Bridgewater said. “It’s frustrating when you don’t win those close games.”

Carolina’s past four defeats have come by an average margin of five points.

“We’ve just got to win. We’ve got to find a way to win,” Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson said. “Stop beating ourselves, like I kept saying, just self-inflicted wounds that happens to us.”

Tampa Bay’s offense was hindered against New Orleans without guard Ali Marpet, who was in the team’s concussion protocol. He was back in a limited capacity for Wednesday’s practice.

Carolina might have rookie safety Jeremy Chinn back after he missed action because of a knee injury as he has been on the practice field this week. Safety Juston Burris, who started the first six games, has been activated for a potential return after missing three games with a rib injury.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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