Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Game Awards: Buccaneers vs. Panthers

Who got this week's Game Ball?


Game Ball:** We'll defer to the experts on this one. The Buccaneers presented Jacquizz Rodgers with a game ball shortly after Monday's victory, even lifting the sixth-year back up on their shoulders. The Bucs could have chosen a pass-heavy approach against a stout Carolina front, especially in the absence of running backs Doug Martin and Charles Sims, but they chose to put the ball in Rodgers' hands. In fact, he carried the ball 10 times and added a reception on the game-opening 15-play field goal drive, signaling the Bucs' intention to establish the ground attack. Rodgers ended up with a career-high 30 carries, gaining 101 yards, and added five catches for 28 yards. The last of those was huge, converting a third down early in the game-winning field goal drive after he juked out a Carolina defender to get past the sticks.


Play of the Game:** CB Brent Grimes' fourth-quarter interception in the Bucs' end zone turned back an 86-yard drive that looked like it might win the game for the home team. Panthers QB Derek Anderson looked to TE Greg Olsen all night, hitting him nine times for 181 yards, including two big connections in the drive in question. Facing a first-and-goal at the Bucs' one, Anderson tried to get it to Olsen one more time on a lob to the right edge of the end zone, but Grimes leaped high to haul in the Bucs' fourth turnover of the game and keep the outcome in question.


Turning Point:** Carolina scored the first 14 points of the second half after the Buccaneers had taken a 6-0 shutout into the intermission. The Bucs' offense did nothing on its first possession between the Panthers' two touchdown drives and started its next march with an incompletion. After Rodgers ripped off an 11-yard run, QB Jameis Winston faked it to the back and then rolled right. After a lengthy fake, Winston turned back to his left and lobbed a deep pass down the left sideline to a wide-open Cameron Brate. The tight end's 38-yard grab came one play before Winston's game-tying touchdown pass to WR Mike Evans.

It Was Over When: Roberto Aguayo's fourth field goal attempt split the uprights on a 38-yard attempt as time expired. Given that Aguayo had missed two of his first three tries on the night, there had to be some tension on the Bucs' sideline, but the rookie kicker was calm and confident with the game on the line.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Latest Headlines