TAMPA BAY (27) d CAROLINA (21)
The Headline: Buccaneers cap amazing comeback with an overtime win
It just goes from bad to worse for the Carolina Panthers, having played well for 57 minutes and looking on course to win their third game of the year (while keeping their already minute playoff hopes alive) the Panthers got an ugly punch in the guts from their division rival Tampa Bay. Having forced Josh Freeman into two interceptions and a fumble from Doug Martin, the Panthers defense had probably their best game of the season lead by Thomas Davis with 16 total tackles and Captain Munnerlyn’s first quarter interception return for a touchdown it had the Buccaneers on the ropes on looking like they were going to drop to 5-5. One unbelievable fight back later and the panthers had dropped their eighth game of the season while the Buccaneers had moved right onto the verge of the wildcard spots and completing an incredible turnaround after an atrocious 2011 season.
Key Stat: Total Rushing Yards: Tampa Bay 167, Carolina 97
Doug Martin continued his recent hot streak of form with another bell cow performance picking up some vital yards for the Buccaneers offense carrying the load and breaking 1000 yards for his rookie season. In his last four games he has carried the ball for 592 yards as his team rides his hot hand. Meanwhile, the team with supposedly the best running attack in the league failed to do a whole lot on the ground here failing to break 100 yards as a team.
Key Play: Dallas Clark 15 yard touchdown in overtime
With all of the momentum squarely on the Buccaneers side they got a big break and won the coin toss giving them the ball to start the overtime period. On the eighth play of the drive, with the Buccaneers comfortably in field goal range, Josh Freeman lofted a nice pass down the left sideline for his tight end who tiptoed in the field of play and scored the game winning touchdown to eliminate any chance of the Panthers being able to come back.
Man of the Match: Josh Freeman
25/46, 248 yards, 3 touchdowns
With his team in trouble, down 11 with six minutes to go, Freeman stood up and took control of the game guiding his team to tying and winning scores. To tie the game, he had 56 seconds and no timeouts to work with and it proved to be no obstacle for the fourth year signal caller as he needed four completions to get the touchdown, the last one a perfectly placed laser over the middle to his favourite giant Vincent Jackson. He then hit him again for the tying two point conversion and then the winning touchdown.