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Series History: Bucs-Panthers

Posted Nov 27, 2013

On Sunday in Charlotte, the Buccaneers will try to turn their season series with the Panthers into a split for the first time since 2008, in the process cutting into Carolina's slight edge in the all-time battle

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Carolina leads the all-time series with Tampa Bay 15-11, though the Bucs swept both contests last year
  • One team has swept the other in all but three seasons since the NFC South was formed in 2002
  • This is the first time since 1996 that a Bucs-Panthers matchup will pit two teams riding 3 -game winning streaks
The Carolina Panthers could continue an interesting NFC South trend on Sunday when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit Bank of America Stadium, but only if the Buccaneers fail in their attempt to prevent it.

With a victory in Tampa earlier in the season, Carolina put itself in position to sweep this year's head-to-head divisional battle with the Buccaneers. If they can complete that sweep on Sunday, it will mark the fifth straight year that one team has won both contests.  Moreover, the season sweeps continue to alternate, as Carolina took both matchups in 2009 and 2011 while the Bucs got a pair of Ws in 2010 and 2012.

At least one team will be losing its grip on an impressive series on Sunday.  The Panthers bring an NFL-long seven-game winning streak into the game while the Buccaneers are riding their own three-game run of victories.  This marks the first time since 1996 – Carolina's second year of existence – that the Buccaneers and Panthers will both bring winning streaks of at least three games into a game against each other.  Carolina won that game, 24-0, en route to the NFC Championship Game.  The Buccaneers, in their first year under Head Coach Tony Dungy, were in the midst of a second-half turnaround to their season, as they won five of their last seven, the loss at Charlotte notwithstanding.

The Bucs hope to forge just the fourth season split with Carolina since the two teams joined the new NFC South together in 2002.  The Bucs swept in 2002 while Carolina took both victories in 2003, 2004 and 2006.  The splits occurred in 2005, 2007 and 2008.

Neither win came easily for the Buccaneers last year.  Carolina was Tampa Bay's opening-day opponent in 2012, in Head Coach Greg Schiano's first game at the helm, and the Bucs needed a historically good run defense to pull out a 16-10 win at home.  The Bucs held Carolina to just 10 rushing yards on the game, tying a team record, and was particularly hard on QB Cam Newton, who had put up enormous numbers against Tampa Bay's defense during his eye-opening rookie campaign in 2011.  Newton threw for 303 yards but was intercepted twice, sacked three times and allowed only four rushing yards on five carries.  In the rematch in Charlotte, Newton led the Panthers to a 21-10 fourth-quarter lead but the Buccaneers mustered one of their most dramatic comebacks in years to win, 27-21, in overtime.  WR Vincent Jackson sent the game into an extra period with his last-minute touchdown catch and the subsequent two-point conversion.

As for those 2011 numbers for Newton, however, they were quite a bit different.  In two wins over the Buccaneers by a combined score of 86-35, the dual-threat rookie accounted for four passing touchdowns and four rushing touchdowns and was not intercepted once.

-- The Bucs will try to force their first season split with Carolina since 2008
Carolina leads the overall series, 15-11, with only three of those matchups coming before the creation of the NFC South.  The Bucs were on the Panthers' schedule in their inaugural 1995 season, a game that was actually played at Clemson, and they came away with a 20-13 win despite a strong showing by the expansion team, which put up 393 yards of offense. Tampa Bay's defense swung the decision in the visitors' favor with four takeaways and backup QB Casey Weldon won the game with a one-yard touchdown plunge.

Some of the most dramatic outcomes in the head-to-head Bucs-Panthers series have come from tight, low-scoring affairs.  In 2002, during the Buccaneers' run to Super Bowl XXXVII, a Tampa Bay team playing without starting QB Brad Johnson found itself trailing, 9-3, in the fourth quarter.  K Martin Gramatica finished off a four-for-four performance with three long field goals in the final period, the last one a 47-yard game-winner that backed up a defense that only allowed 130 total yards.

The very next season saw a Bucs-Panthers game end in a 12-9 final, but in a far less happy way for the Buccaneers.  Coming off a dominant 17-0 win in Philadelphia in the 2003 season opener, the defending NFL champs stumbled in their home opener against Carolina, in part due to a single play that led to injuries to both Mike Alstott and Joe Jurevicius.  Trailing 9-3, the Bucs' offense woke up just in time, with Brad Johnson driving the team 82 yards in the last two minutes to set up a six-yard touchdown pass to Keenan McCardell as time expired.  An extra point would have won it, but Carolina DT Kris Jenkins blocked the attempt, sending the game to overtime and giving the Panthers a chance to eventually win it on John Kasay's field goal.

Bucs' Game-by-Game Record vs. Panthers:

Year

Result

Site

1995

W, 20-13

Clemson

1996

L, 24-0

Charlotte

1998

W, 16-13

Tampa

2002

W, 12-9

Charlotte

2002

W, 23-10

Tampa

2003

L, 12-9

Tampa

2003

L, 27-24

Charlotte

2004

L, 21-14

Charlotte

2004

L, 37-20

Tampa

2005

L, 34-14

Tampa

2005

W, 20-10

Charlotte

2006

L, 26-24

Tampa

2006

L, 24-10

Charlotte

2007

W, 20-7

Charlotte

2007

L, 31-23

Tampa

2008

W, 27-3

Tampa

2008

L, 38-23

Charlotte

2009

L, 28-21

Tampa

2009

L, 16-6

Charlotte

2010

W, 20-7

Charlotte

2010

W, 31-16

Tampa

2011

L, 38-19

Tampa

2011

L, 48-16

Charlotte

2012

W, 16-10

Tampa

2012

W, 27-21

Charlotte

2012

L, 31-13

Tampa


Series Notes:
  • Overall Season Series: Carolina leads, 15-11
  • Bucs' Home Record: 5-8
  • Bucs' Road Record: 6-7
  • Current Streak: Lose 1 (2013)
  • Buccaneers' Longest Winning Streak: 3 (1998-2002)
  • Panthers' Longest Winning Streak: 5 (2003-05)
  • Regular Season Point Total: Buccaneers 468, Panthers 554
  • Most Points in a Game, Buccaneers: Buccaneers 31-16 (2010)
  • Most Points in a Game, Panthers: Panthers 48-16 (2011)
  • Most Points, both teams: Panthers 48-16 (2011)
  • Fewest Points in a Game, Buccaneers: Panthers 24-0 (1996)
  • Fewest Points in a Game, Panthers: Buccaneers 27-3 (2008)
  • Fewest Points in a Game, both teams: Panthers 12-9 (2003)

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