November 18, 2012
Bucs 27, Panthers 21, overtime
By Ron Green Jr.
In a season in which they've found different ways to lose games, the Panthers found a new way Sunday.
Leading by 11 points with less than five minutes remaining, the Panthers squandered the lead and wound up losing 27-21 to Tampa Bay in overtime at Bank of America Stadium.
Dallas Clark caught a 15-yard pass from Josh Freeman in overtime to seal the victory. The Panthers never had the ball in overtime, allowing Tampa Bay to go 80 yards in eight plays for the victory.
It left the Panthers with a 2-8 record going into a Monday night at Philadelphia on Nov. 26.
Keyed by an interception return for a touchdown by Captain Munnerlyn and a fumble recovery by linebacker Luke Kuechly in the end zone, the Panthers were in position to atone for their season-opening loss at Tampa Bay.
Instead, they collapsed in the fourth quarter.
"This one is right at the top," head coach Ron Rivera said when asked how difficult the latest loss was. "This is about as bad as it gets.
"We had every opportunity. The bad part is when you have opportunities to close someone out with a four-minute offense, you can't take negative plays and, unfortunately, we did. Then you have an opportunity to stop them and, for whatever reason, we don't recognize the formation and don't make the play."
Needing one stop to win, the Panthers allowed the Bucs to go 80 yards in seven plays, scoring a touchdown on a 24-yard pass fromFreeman to Vincent Jackson with 12 seconds remaining. The Bucs then tied the game on a two-point play, Freeman again finding Jackson in the back of the end zone.
Linebacker Thomas Davis was called for a personal foul penalty on the drive, allowing the Bucs to move into Carolina territory.
It was a dramatic turn of events in a game the Panthers were on the edge of winning in regulation.
"We want the game to be the way it was," Davis said. "Put the game in our hands and allow us to finish it and we didn't get it done today. Flat out."
What seemed to be a game-changing play came early in the third quarter when the Bucs elected to go for it on fourth-and-one from the Carolina 2-yard line. Bucs running back Doug Martin went up the middle but fumbled near the goal line.
Davis made the hit and Luke Kuechly made the recovery in the end zone. After a video review, the fumble call was upheld, giving the Panthers possession at the Tampa Bay 20-yard line.
Working through the air, Newton guided the Panthers sharply downfield. He found receiver Brandon LaFell three times in the drive, the final completion a 29-yard touchdown reception that pushed the Panthers ahead by 11 with 6 minutes remaining.
Connor Barth cut the Panthers lead to 21-13 with a 40-yard field goal with 4:33 to play.
It was a bleak start for the Panthers in front of a less than full stadium.
Munnerlyn lost a fumble on a punt return early in the first quarter, giving the ball to the Bucs at the Carolina 29-yard line. Munnerlyn would soon atone for his mistake.
However, the Bucs capitalized on the mistake, turning it into a three-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Josh Freeman to tight end Nate Byham for a 7-0 lead.
On the same week the Panthers fired special teams coach Brian Murphy, special teams problems continued. On the kickoff following the Tampa Bay touchdown, Carolina's Jordan Seen was penalized, forcing the Panthers to start from their own 16-yard line.
After a Connor Barth field goal gave the Bucs a 10-0 lead, the Panthers were wobbling. It got worse when starting defensive ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy collided. Hardy would eventually return to the game but Johnson was taken to the locker room and did not return.
The game flipped when Freeman hurried a pass and Captain Munnerlyn intercepted it, returning it 74 yards for a touchdown, his second pick-six this season. Tampa Bay's Ted Larsen was also penalized 15-yards for an unsportsmanlike hit on Panthers defensive lineman Dwan Edwards.
Suddenly recharged, the Panthers forced a Tampa Bay punt then took a 14-13 lead on an eight-play, 77-yard drive. The march included a 30-yard screen pass to Jonathan Stewart, a 17-yard Steve Smith reception and a pass interference penalty in the end zone that set up Stewart's 1-yard touchdown.
The Panthers had a chance to extend their lead late in the half but Justin Medlock missed a 40-yard field goal attempt, his third straight miss.
Posted by Observer Sports on November 18, 2012 at 04:43 PM | Permalink
I am not normally a knee jerk reaction type of guy and normally not in favor of firing coaches in the middle of the season, but these guys have got to go. They obviously can't promote a culture of winning and it will not get any better. God, what a horrible loss.
Posted by: JeffC | Nov 18, 2012 4:49:06 PM
Just amazing how we can never hold onto a lead with the opposition having less than a min to play with no time-outs. Draft the top offensive lineman in the draft & sign the top offensvie lineman in free agency next year, along with a kicker to get this team where it needs to be. New d-coordinator please along with a secondary coach.
Posted by: Jack | Nov 18, 2012 4:50:30 PM
Posted by: Ryan | Nov 18, 2012 4:52:58 PM
I agree, JeffC. This is inexcusable. Absolutely inexcusable. I'd bring in Marty Schottenheimer to finish out the season and go from there. Hell bring in Marv Levy.
Posted by: BigMikey | Nov 18, 2012 5:01:43 PM
Trade Jordan Gross! Overpaid!!!!! New d-coordinator immediately!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't bring Gamble back next year or things will look even worse!!!!! Offensive line man up please! We only look good on screens bc the o-line can not block!
Posted by: Sammy | Nov 18, 2012 5:04:11 PM
Are we the only team that runs the ball in the strength of the defensive line.....is there a reason we can't sweep with williams? Chud is overrated and has done to hing to merit any accolades....how can this team no get two first downs....passive offensive calling when you need a few yards...staff is gone, so I guess they have nothing to lose......
Posted by: Pantheru | Nov 18, 2012 5:05:19 PM
This has got ot be the worse loss of the season. Wonder who gets the ax come monday mourning?
Posted by: Rob | Nov 18, 2012 5:08:10 PM
Who gets the axe tomorrow? I know coaches aren't on the field and can't be there to make the plays, but something has got to change. This defense cannot and has not made a stand all year when the game was on the line. This team is the laughing stock of the NFL. Fire Ron now!
Posted by: Jay | Nov 18, 2012 5:08:29 PM
Sorry but I disagree. Don't not fire Rivera. Give this guy one more year. I really believe in him to turn things around. Just sit back and you'll see next year if the Panthers are smart to keep him.
Posted by: Sammy | Nov 18, 2012 5:10:46 PM
Axe...Are you happy now?
Posted by: Rob | Nov 18, 2012 5:10:48 PM
Eagles are just as bad as Carolina, we should be able to compete for at least a half........
Posted by: Pantheru | Nov 18, 2012 5:16:35 PM
GOOD GRIEF JR. WHAT IS YOUR FRIGGIN PROBLEM???
FIRE RIVERA, NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW!
WHY WAIT?? MAKES NO SENSE TO WAIT. We have GREAT TALENT BUT AWFUL COACHES/GAME PLANS ETC, not to mention our players dont respect RIVERA.
IF YOU WAIT, We WILL BE BETTER next year but waiting will not give coaches time to gel with players, have players learn new schemes/game plans & etc.......
BRING IN A QUALIFIED...I REPEAT..QUALIFIED COACHING STAFF OUR PLAYERS WILL RESPECT & BE WILLING TO FOLLOW TO THE TRENCHES FOR WAR...& GIVE THEM THE REST OF THIS SEASON (this season is TOAST...WHY WAIT?????) to work with players, implement their systems & etc & next season we could make a serious playoff push.
Im baffled by JR & why he cant see this. Is JR getting senile? ANY 5th grader can see we NEED TO FIRE RIVERA (& others) NOW & GIVE NEW COACHES THE REST OF THIS SEASON TO work so next season is not wasted.
JR, YOU BETTER LISTEN AS THE FANS WRITE YOUR PAYCHECK & YOU ARE SLAPPING EVERY FAN SMACK IN THE FACE BY NOT FIRING RIVERA NOW....& I MEAN NOW.......
If you insist on dissing your fans then you will get what you deserve & will have an empty stadium next year, SEVERE LOSSES & THEN YOU WILL BE FORCED TO SELL OR RELOCATE.
JR, YOU ARE BITING THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU & THATS NOT A GOOD THING.....
JR, BY NOT ACTING NOW YOU ARE PROVING YOU ARE AS INEPT AS RIVERA & I & OTHER SEASON TICKET HOLDERS WILL HAVE A 'TICKET BURNING PARTY', where we all BURN OUR TICKETS & SEND YOU A CLEAR MESSAGE THAT YOU WILL BE SURE TO SEE & AGAIN, YOU CAN ENJOY STEEP LOSSES & THEN BE FORCED TO SELL OR RELOCATE.
We have great talent on the field but a clueless/Blind owner & A coaching staff not qualified to coach pop warner......SAD...PATHETIC & NO EXCUSE FOR SITTING ON YOUR A** & DISSING YOUR FANS BY NOT ACTING NOW & GETTING RID OF THIS COACHING STAFF NOW!!!!!!
Posted by: Who cares | Nov 18, 2012 5:42:23 PM
Absolutely incredible. Hurney gets fired because rivera made it look like we lack talent. He finds way to scheme up losses for a talented team.
What the eff was that fake punt? Who loses 2 possession leads late in the 4th quarter? Insane how bad that was. Worst part is.....you can't really fire him now because his staff is so weak there's nobody there to finish the season.
Posted by: charlottean | Nov 18, 2012 5:53:46 PM
I heard cowher is meeting with JR tomorrow......good news panther fans
Posted by: Pantheru | Nov 18, 2012 6:06:28 PM
4th and 1 again and he didn't go for the win again! the man just doesn't learn from his mistakes and makes mistakes trying not to make mistakes he made before! translated his hiring was a mistake! we don't need a coach! we need an exorcist! Bill Cowher pick your gm!
Posted by: joe cool | Nov 18, 2012 6:47:13 PM
If I didnt know god watching this horrible display of coaching would drive me crazy
Posted by: Db | Nov 18, 2012 7:07:57 PM
i cannot see why this team cannot hire a decent kicker, medlock missed a 40 yarder, i can name veteran kickers who are better and without a job
our own john kasay
Posted by: p2kfan | Nov 19, 2012 3:10:05 AM
Anybody still miss me?
Posted by: John Fox | Nov 19, 2012 9:44:22 AM
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