Before kickoff, the Buccaneers Twitter handles were getting excited about the upcoming game. Even Captain Fear and the cheerleaders got into the mix.
In the story of the pregame, the Panthers announced a key injury. Adam Schefter updates his followers and the football world:
Carolina would take first possession and be stopped quickly in a three-and-out. The third down play led by, guess who?
The Bucs took over at the 30-yard line and would eventually punt, but second-round selection TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins hauled in the first pass of his NFL career. Twitter enjoyed it.
The Bucs defense continued to make big plays, forcing another punt from the Panthers. Bucs Nation and Joe Bucs Fan call some key players:
After a big punt from Carolina, the Bucs were pinned back at their own three-yard line. Buccaneers.com's Scott Smith calls the highlight that got them out of trouble in a hurry:
The offense would again stall with a tipped ball interception. The Ledger's Rick Brown makes the call while TBO.com's Ira Kaufman comments on the conditions on the field.
Trying to avoid the sack, McCown throws it up to Seferian-Jenkins. Ball is tipped and intercepted. Broke first rule of Lovie Smith — Rick Brown (@LedgeronBucs) September 7, 2014
The first quarter came to a quick end, scoreless, as the Panthers begin to mount an offensive drive. We turn to Tampa Bay Times' Greg Auman for some calls:
And Carolina would be the first on the board.
The Bucs again took possession, and would leave the field with a key injury to recent trade acquisition, Pro Bowl G Logan Mankins. TBO.com's Roy Cummings and new Buccaneers.com contributor Anthony Becht share the bad news.
The teams would trade punts and the Panthers would take over with under two minutes in the half from their own 43-yard line.
Completions to Johnathan Stewart, Jerricho Cotchery and Kelvin Benjamin moved the ball down to 11 yard line, but the Bucs D would hold forcing a Panthers field goal as time expired.
To start the third quarter, the Buccaneers put together a few nice plays on offense, still trying to establish a rhythm with the new personnel. @PewterReport tweets some plays:
Ultimately, the drive would end in a punt, and Twitter analysts would update their followers with more bad news on the Bucs injury list.
This drive again would come to an abrupt end, with the second Buccaneers INT of the day, as called by WDAE and Auman:
On the first play of the fourth quarter, off of good field position after the turnover, the Panthers would again find the end zone, this time to rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin with a stunning grab.
The Bucs offense would have to punt on the next drive, but received good news with Doug Martin making his return to the field.
On the ensuing drive, the Panthers would miss a field goal.
With the ball back, down by 17, the Bucs offense would find their first life of the game. Here's WDAE and Joe Bucs fans as the Bucs go on the move.
And they were into the end zone for the first Buccaneers points of the season.
The Panthers would take over, but not for long, as the defense got behind the intensifying crowd noise. Bucs Nation calls a big stop and the signs of life:
And the Bucs were on the move again. We turn it over to Twitter to follow the plays:
McCown popped again but completes 15-yarder to V-Jax. — Rick Brown (@LedgeronBucs) September 7, 2014
And the Bucs (almost) put up seven.
On the very next play, Tampa Bay would cross the goal line, cutting the lead to three.
Touchback. 2:06 left. Bucs with thre timeouts.
Akeem with a game-saving tackle there. Held on for dear life. — Leo (@LeoHowell8) September 7, 2014
The Buccaneers took over with hope still left, but an unfortunate turnover would quickly give the ball back to Carolina.
The defense would hold, allowing just a field goal.
With just :23 seconds to work with, the first two passes would fall incomplete, with the last attempt going for just a nine-yard gain taking us to the final whistle.
The Bucs found their rhythm late, but could not pull together the victory in the final quarter. Next week, the Buccaneers will take on the St. Louis Rams inside Raymond James Stadium as they honor Hall of Fame LB Derrick Brooks with his induction into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor.