Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/9/12

This weekend’s match-up between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers lived up to the hype of being a battle between two teams in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.

Tampa Bay was able to pull out the win, and this article looks at the hero and the zero of this game.

Hero

The hero of this game was not a single player on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but rather the group of players that make up Tampa Bay’s defense and special teams.

On special teams, Tampa Bay scored three field goals, while also blocking a Carolina punt.

On defense Ronde Barber and Ahmad Black both made interceptions at key points in the game to keep Carolina out of the end zone, while the defense as a whole was responsible for three sacks and holding Carolina’s running game to an embarrassing 10 yards.  

Tampa Bay’s offense started off strong but then seemed to stall out, and it was the defense that saved the win.

Zero

The zero of this game was running back DeAngelo Williams for the Carolina Panthers. With fellow running back Jonathan Stewart out of the game, Williams was given responsibility for the majority of Carolina’s running game, a responsibility in which he completely screwed up. Williams’ stat line after the game read six rushes for negative one yard, and one reception for five yards.  

Cam Newton, Kealoha Pilares, and Mike Tolbert did not do much better in the running game combining for seven carries and 11 yards, but at least they all finished the game with positive yardage.

Final Analysis             

Tampa Bay’s defense played well today but still has room for improvement especially in the passing game. If Tampa Bay’s defense can play as well in the passing game in the coming weeks as they played in the running game today, they will definitely be a forced to be reckoned with.

For Carolina this loss is a setback, but Newton looked good in the passing game especially late in the game, and if they can work on turnovers and fixing their running game they will have a better season in 2012, then they did in 2011.  



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