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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rapid Reaction: Buccaneers vs. Panthers

After a late touchdown in the fourth quarter by the Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay would fall in another heartbreaker 22-19.

View photos of the Buccaneers' Week 16 game against the Panthers.

The first half went largely score-for-score between the Bucs and Panthers.

After forcing a fumble by Bucs' quarterback Jameis Winston, Carolina opened scoring with a field goal on their first drive. Kicker Graham Gano was good from 25 yards after Tampa Bay safety Chris Conte came up with a big third down tackle of Panthers' quarterback Cam Newton at the Bucs' 7-yard line.

The Bucs matched the Panthers with a field goal of their own on their next possession. Kicker Patrick Murray was good from 31-yards after a big drive that saw 39 yards from running back Peyton Barber and got the Bucs' ground game involved.

After trading a field goal apiece, making the score 6-6 in the second quarter, the first touchdown of the game was scored by Carolina on a 65-yard punt return by Damiere Byrd. Bucs' defensive end Will Gholston blocked the extra point to hold Carolina to 12 points.

Tampa Bay was able to tack on three more before the half expired, going into the locker room only down 12-9.

Linebacker Kwon Alexander would come up with an interception on the Panthers' first drive of the second half, returning it for 25 yards to the Tampa Bay 45-yard line.

The drive led to the Bucs' first touchdown of the day, as quarterback Jameis Winston scrambled away from pressure to connect on an 18-yard pass to wide receiver Bobo Wilson for the score. It was Wilson's first NFL touchdown of his career and put the Bucs up 16-12 with 10:27 left in the third quarter.

The Panthers would get as close as the Bucs' 12-yard line before being forced to settle for a field goal. Kicker Graham Gano was good from 30 yards to cut Tampa Bay's lead to 16-15.

The Bucs answered with a field goal of their own on their next possession. They got down in a goal-to-go situation but were backed up by a sack on Jameis Winston, as Panthers' defensive end Julius Peppers dropped him for a 13-yard loss. Kicker Patrick Murray was able to convert a 26-yarder to put Tampa Bay up 19-15 at the start of the fourth quarter.

On third down and 3 at the Tampa Bay 39-yard line, defensive end Ryan Russell got the second sack of the day on quarterback Cam Newton, forcing the Panthers to punt with 9:07 left in the game.

The Bucs would try a 51-yard field goal on their next possession but it would go just right. With 3:05 left in the fourth, Carolina got the ball back down 19-15, leaving it up to the Bucs' defense to get the stop.

Unfortunately, Carolina would get a first-and-10 at the 1-yard line and after fumbling the snap, quarterback Cam Newton punched it in for the score, putting the Panthers up 22-19 with :35 left to play.

Tampa Bay got the ball back but Jameis Winston fumbled the ball as he was sacked on the first play of the drive, effectively ending the game. Tampa Bay fell in another heartbreaker 22-19.

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