Buccaneers Vs. Panthers score, takeaways: Tom Brady-Mike Evans combination helps Tampa Bay win NFC South

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the NFC South 30-24 against the Carolina Panthers in Week 17. The Buccaneers didn’t look like legitimate Super Bowl contenders for most of the season, but that changed on Sunday. Tom Brady and his crew exploded for 478 yards of total offense.

Brady completed 34-of-45 passes for 432 yards and three touchdowns — all three to Mike Evans. The star wideout caught 10 passes for 207 yards and three scores, while Chris Godwin impressed with 120 receiving yards on nine catches.

The Panthers jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the second quarter, but managed to score just 10 points in the second half, while Tampa Bay dropped 20 points in the fourth quarter alone. Sam Darnold completed 23-of-37 passes for 341 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, while DJ Moore caught six passes for 117 yards and a score.

Well, what happened on Sunday? Let’s see what could be a season-changing win for the Buccaneers.

Why did the bookers win?

The Bucks had a poor first half. The Panthers looked very excited to play the football game while Godwin lost a fumble, Ryan Succop missed a field goal and Brady was visibly upset with his teammates and himself. Later, the team settled in completely and delivered their best offensive performance of the season.

Brady threw for 432 yards. He didn’t exceed 385 passing yards all season. His three passing touchdowns tied a season high. It’s well known that Brady and Evans haven’t been on the same page all year. That narrative finally died Sunday as Evans put up season-high numbers across the board with 10 catches, 207 yards and three touchdowns. He had three touchdowns in 14 games in the tournament.

On Sunday, Evans notched his ninth straight season with 1,000 receiving yards, tying Tim Brown for the second-longest streak in NFL history. Evans already held the NFL record for consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons to start an NFL career.

That’s the offensive burst you want right before the playoffs. Brady being Brady, the Bucs can accomplish something if they get hot at the right time.

Why did the Panthers lose?

Carolina’s leading rusher in D’Onta Foreman surprisingly had just 35 yards, and Darnold was inconsistent. In the end, though, 24 points was historically enough to beat the Buccaneers this season. This Panthers loss came down to defense.

How did Evans do the same thing and score three touchdowns? Panthers fans experienced déjà vu throughout the second half as Evans repeatedly scored by burning man coverage down the right sideline. Well, all three of his touchdowns came on the right side in man coverage and occurred in the same end zone. Jaycee Horn’s loss was great. The game was blown wide open as Carolina let Tampa Bay down by 20 points in the fourth quarter, and now, the Panthers’ postseason hopes are in tatters.

turning point

Down by three points with 2:32 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Panthers had a chance to lead a game-winning drive. On the first play of that “drive,” rookie left tackle Ikem Ekwonu was beaten at the edge by Anthony Nelson, who hit Darnold from behind and caused a fumble. The Buccaneers recovered the loose ball and Brady punched in a one-yard score a couple later to extend the lead to nine points with under two minutes remaining.

Game of the game

Evans surpassed 1,000 yards for the ninth straight season thanks to three long touchdown receptions: a 63-yarder in the second quarter, a 57-yarder early in the fourth quarter, and then a 30-yarder seven minutes later.

The second touchdown was by Evans the First player in franchise history To record touchdown receptions of 50-plus yards in the same game.

Worth quoting

What’s next

The Panthers travel to New Orleans next week and close out the regular season against the rival Saints (7-9). As for the Buccaneers, they will travel to Atlanta to face Desmond Ryder and the 6-10 Falcons.

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