After Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw an interception just five minutes into the game, Brady led a 10-play, 81-yard march down the field for a touchdown that included a sterling 50-yard throw to Mike Evans.
The Panthers fumbled on the next possession, which was recovered by Bucs lineman Jason Pierre-Paul, and Tampa didn’t waste that chance. Less than a minute later Brady and Evans connected again to put the Bucs up 14-0.
The Bucs kept the heat on in the second quarter. Leonard Fournette was the big star of that drive, catching a 12-yard pass from Brady and forcing his way through a pile of Panthers to score his first Bucs touchdown and put the team up 21-0 before the half.
Brady had some issues
Brady wasn’t perfect. Just a minute into the third quarter, he threw a pass that was intended for Rob Gronkowski but ended up in the hands of Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson. That led to the Panthers’ first touchdown of the day, and highlighted a troubling trend for Brady.
Just two games into his Buccaneers career, Brady has thrown three interceptions. He threw just eight total interceptions in 2019.
Tampa Bay was also quiet in the second half while the Panthers found their feet. After capitalizing on that Brady interception with a touchdown, they scored on their very next possession to make it a 21-14 game.
The Bucs didn’t wake up until midway through the fourth quarter when Carlton Davis picked off Bridgewater. They settled for a field goal after LeSean McCoy dropped a Brady pass in the end zone, and started to feel the pressure from the Panthers late in the fourth quarter after a field goal made it a one-score game.
With under two minutes to go, the Bucs struck the final blow. Gronk recovered an onside kick, which Fournette subsequently ran 46 yards for a touchdown. That sealed the 31-17 win for the Buccaneers, who even up their record at 1-1. The Panthers fell to 0-2, and could be the only NFC South team without a win by the end of the day.
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