for this game

Defense helps Buccaneers dominate Panthers

Oct 13, 2008 - 12:04 AM TAMPA, Florida -- Minutes into Sunday's game, Geno Hayes set the tone for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - and sealed the Carolina Panthers' fate.

Hayes blocked the Panthers' punt on their opening possession and returned it 22 yards, sparking a dominant defensive effort in the Bucs' 27-3 victory.

Warrick Dunn rushed for a season-high 122 yards and Tampa Bay's defense throttled Carolina to pull into a first-place tie in the NFC South.

"We called a little blitz stunt and I had a one-on-one with the tackle," Hayes said. "He took a step too far to the outside, so I got to the punter and took it to the house.

"We had the attitude going in that it was a playoff game. It's a game showing that Tampa Bay is a team to be reckoned with in the NFL right now."

Jake Delhomme was intercepted three times by the Bucs.

"They're a good offense, but we know we have a defense," said Jermaine Phillips, who had one of the three interceptions. "I felt like we were flying around to the ball. To say that we rattled them? I just think we played good defense."

The Bucs also got a 2-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Garcia to Alex Smith and a 1-yard run from Earnest Graham in improving to 3-0 at home.

"They got into a situation where they had a pretty good lead and they pounded it in there pretty good on us," Carolina coach John Fox said. "They did a terrific job."

The Panthers' first possession was an omen of the entire afternoon. The Panthers were forced to punt and Hayes came through the middle, blocking Jason Baker's punt and returning it 22 yards for a touchdown.

The blocked punt set the tone for the day for the aggressive Bucs defense.

"It does put you behind the eight ball," said DeAngelo Williams, who was limited to 27 yards on 11 carries. "I don't know many teams in the NFL that you can give three turnovers to and expect to win the game. We have to eliminate turnovers. We didn't give our defense much of a shot today from an offensive standpoint."

Later in the first quarter, Garcia's TD pass to Smith spotted the Bucs a 14-0 cushion and they never were threatened.

John Kasay's 20-yard field goal in the second quarter accounted for the Panthers' only points.

The Panthers were held to 40 yards rushing while Delhomme finished 20-of-39 for 242 yards. He was intercepted by Jermaine Phillips, Tanard Jackson and rookie Aqib Talib.

"We had pressure, mixed coverages," Bucs coach Jon Gruden said. "We got some opportunistic guys back there. They were impact plays. We got guys with range."

Matt Bryant added a pair of field goals for Tampa Bay.

"I can't really say this was a wake-up call," Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers said. "We just didn't play well. This can happen every week. If you don't play well, you're going to get beat period. Like I said, I expected to play better. We expected to play better, but we didn't."

Dunn had a season-high 115 yards on 22 carries. Starting for an injured Brian Griese, Garcia (15-for-20) threw for 173 yards.

"Dunn had a great effort," Gruden said. "He was certainly worthy of a game ball."

The Bucs (4-2) pulled even with Carolina (4-2) atop the NFC South along with the Atlanta Falcons (4-2), who beat the Chicago Bears.

"We definitely went out there with a statement on our mind," Talib said. "We knew what we were getting ourselves into with an offense and defense that were rolling like they were rolling."

Steve Smith was a lone bright spot for the Panthers with six catches for 112 yards. However, he dropped what would have been a touchdown pass in the final minute.

"You have a good game last week," Smith said. "You dominate defensively, offensively, you run the ball and pass the ball and then just come in here and basically lay an egg. A team like this you can't start 14 down or seven in the hole, you just can't do that."








  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 3 0 0 3
    TAMPA BAY 14 3 3 7 27 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - TD, GENO HAYES 22 YD RETURN OF BLOCKED
    PUNT (MATT BRYANT KICK), 2:35.
    TAMPA BAY 7-0
    TAM - TD, ALEX SMITH 2 YD PASS FROM JEFF
    GARCIA (MATT BRYANT KICK), 12:20.
    Drive: 5 plays, 26 yards

    Oct 12 4:02 PM
  • reuzter Never bet against a man whose just lost his son

    Panthers 3, Buccaneers 27  4th - 5:20Oct 12 3:49 PM
  • 20
    roots
    lpickrell Added 5 roots

    Panthers 3, Buccaneers 27  4th - 7:15Oct 12 3:41 PM


  • NFL
    TD TAM
    EARNEST GRAHAM 1 YD RUN
    (MATT BRYANT KICK)
    CAROLINA 3
    TAMPA BAY 27 14:11 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Panthers 3, Buccaneers 27  4th - 14:11Oct 12 3:22 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 3 0 3
    TAMPA BAY 14 3 3 20 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - TD, GENO HAYES 22 YD RETURN OF BLOCKED
    PUNT (MATT BRYANT KICK), 2:35.
    TAMPA BAY 7-0
    TAM - TD, ALEX SMITH 2 YD PASS FROM JEFF
    GARCIA (MATT BRYANT KICK), 12:20.
    Drive: 5 plays, 26

    Oct 12 3:18 PM


  • NFL
    FG TAM
    MATT BRYANT 49 YD
    CAROLINA 3
    TAMPA BAY 20 6:03 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Panthers 3, Buccaneers 20  3rd - 6:03Oct 12 3:07 PM
  • 15
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Panthers 3, Buccaneers 17  3rd - 14:15Oct 12 2:48 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 3 3
    TAMPA BAY 14 3 17 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - TD, GENO HAYES 22 YD RETURN OF BLOCKED
    PUNT (MATT BRYANT KICK), 2:35.
    TAMPA BAY 7-0
    TAM - TD, ALEX SMITH 2 YD PASS FROM JEFF
    GARCIA (MATT BRYANT KICK), 12:20.
    Drive: 5 plays, 26 yar

    Oct 12 2:28 PM


  • NFL
    FG TAM
    MATT BRYANT 37 YD
    CAROLINA 3
    TAMPA BAY 17 8:58 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Panthers 3, Buccaneers 17  2nd - 8:58Oct 12 2:01 PM


  • NFL
    FG CAR
    JOHN KASAY 20 YD
    CAROLINA 3
    TAMPA BAY 14 12:31 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Panthers 3, Buccaneers 14  2nd - 12:31Oct 12 1:51 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 0
    TAMPA BAY 14 14 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - TD, GENO HAYES 22 YD RETURN OF BLOCKED
    PUNT (MATT BRYANT KICK), 2:35.
    TAMPA BAY 7-0
    TAM - TD, ALEX SMITH 2 YD PASS FROM JEFF
    GARCIA (MATT BRYANT KICK), 12:20.
    Drive: 5 plays, 26

    Oct 12 1:42 PM


  • NFL
    TD TAM
    ALEX SMITH 2 YD PASS FROM JEFF GARCIA
    (MATT BRYANT KICK)
    CAROLINA 0
    TAMPA BAY 14 2:40 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Panthers 0, Buccaneers 14  1st - 2:40Oct 12 1:33 PM


  • NFL
    TD TAM
    GENO HAYES 22 YD RETURN OF BLOCKED PUNT
    (MATT BRYANT KICK)
    CAROLINA 0
    TAMPA BAY 7 12:25 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Panthers 0, Buccaneers 7  1st - 12:25Oct 12 1:10 PM
  • 10
    roots
    GREGnKY Added 5 roots

    Panthers vs. BuccaneersOct 12 9:05 AM
  • 5
    roots
    Lemonman Added 5 roots

    Panthers vs. BuccaneersOct 9 10:12 PM