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Series History: Bucs-Panthers

Posted Oct 22, 2013

The last four season series between Carolina and Tampa Bay have ended in two-game sweeps, two each for the Bucs and Panthers, so Thursday's game could set the tone for the 2013 head-to-head battle


Division rivals Tampa Bay and Carolina meet for the first time this season on Thursday night, and whoever wins that nationally-televised contest should be considered heavy favorites to get another "W" on December 1.

In each of the last four seasons, the two-game series between the Buccaneers and Panthers has ended in a sweep, with Tampa Bay taking both matchups in 2012 and 2010 and Carolina getting them both in 2011 and 2009.  The Bucs also swept in 2002 – the first year the two teams were paired together in the new NFC South – while Carolina took both victories in 2003, 2004 and 2006.  When the Buccaneers and Panthers meet again later this fall, one team or another will be looking to add to his history of season sweeps.

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.

Carolina leads the overall series, 14-11, 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.  The two teams also met the next year, when Carolina was on its surprising run to the NFC Championship Game, and this one was dominated by the upstart Panthers, 24-0.

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:

1995

W, 20-13

Charlotte

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

 

Series Notes:

  • Overall Season Series: Carolina leads, 14-11
  • Bucs' Home Record: 5-7
  • Bucs' Road Record: 6-7
  • Current Streak: Win 2 (2012)
  • Buccaneers' Longest Winning Streak: 3 (1998-2002)
  • Panthers' Longest Winning Streak: 5 (2003-05)
  • Regular Season Point Total: Buccaneers 455, Eagles 523
  • 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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