In an ugly, rainy game played in the 4 p.m. time slot at Raymond James, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers managed to be the less crappy team against the now 1-11 Carolina Panthers, with Tampa taking a 21-18 victory to get the team to 5-7 for the season.
Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield looked out of sorts in the wet playing field, finishing with a single TD, a pick, and a sub-50 completion percentage.
Antoine Winfield Jr. also bailed out the Tampa Bay defense with a pick of Panthers Bryce Young (the rookie QB’s only interception Sunday) with just over two minutes to go in the game.
On offense, running back Rachaad White, plus receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans all scored TDs for the Bucs, with Evans clinching 1,000 receiving yards for the season with an 11-yard catch in the final frame, continuing his now-decade-long streak of at least 1,000 receiving yard seasons to start his career. Other than Evans’ historic catch, not a lot else happened of note in this boring matchup of two of the worst teams in football.
And yet, because of a Saints loss to Detroit at home where Derek Carr exited yet another game due to injury, forcing another Jameis Winston cameo, the Bucs are tied for second in the division and have a chance to take back the division lead next week in a road matchup with the current first-place Atlanta Falcons, who managed to take down the high-flying New York Jets 13-8 (Another real heavyweight fight that took place Sunday).
Regardless of my snarky comments about this God-awful division, at least the Buccaneers didn’t manage to screw this game up enough to lose to the lowly Panthers.
If that did happen, head coach Todd Bowles likely would’ve had to start updating his resume this morning (if he hasn’t begun the process already).
For now, fire those cannons.