Another close loss for Bucs, Panthers clinch playoff spot

Cam Newton definitely has a flare for the dramatic.

The emotional and charismatic quarterback scored on a whacky 2-yard landing run with 35 seconds remaining to raise Carolina to a 22-19 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and assist the Panthers safe a spot within the NFC playoffs for the fourth time in 5 seasons.

The Panthers (eleven-four) trailed a lot of the second half, however Newton accomplished four of seven passes for fifty two yards on the ultimate three-minutes earlier than turning a possible debacle right into a memorable landing. Newton fumbled the shotgun snap after it hit his knuckles, however the ball bounced again up into his palms and he alertly picked it up and dove throughout the objective line for the go-forward rating.

“The thought was to place it on the bottom, get (the protection) to freeze for a second, and decide it up and rating,” joked Panthers coach Ron Rivera. “I inform you once I noticed that… However one of the best half is it did not destroy my Christmas, which I respect.”

Newton celebrated the rating through the use of the soccer as a prop, pretending to “mild a candle on a cupcake” in celebration of his son Chosen’s birthday. Newton introduced his son into the information convention after the sport for the primary time ever, and stated it was ironic that he scored on a 2-yard run on his son’s 2nd birthday.

Newton stated he overlooked the snap as a result of he was interested by whether or not or to not leap over the pile.

When the play got here in, Newton stated he had the choice to run or cross within the huddle.

He selected a run and he is glad he did.

“I am simply completely satisfied it wasn’t a move play as a result of if it was then the offensive line would have been coming again,” Newton stated. “However everybody was shifting ahead, so it may need been good as a result of it froze everyone for a second. I am simply glad that we scored.”

The Panthers sealed the sport when Kawann Brief sacked Jameis Winston on Tampa Bay’s remaining drive, and compelled a fumble that Julius Peppers recovered. Winston threw for 367 yards and a landing however was sacked six occasions and fumbled 3 times for the Bucs (four-eleven).

“The man’s a warrior,” Bucs coach Dirk Koetter stated of Winston.

The Panthers offense struggled all day.

Newton threw for simply one hundred sixty yards and ran for fifty two yards on 14 carries. Carolina’s solely landing within the first three quarters got here on a 103-yard kickoff return by Damiere Byrd. Tampa Bay’s protection set the tone early, limiting the Panthers to only seventy eight yards within the first half, the fewest in a gap half since Newton took over as Carolina’s beginning QB in 2012.

“We discovered methods and that is what nice groups do, they discover methods to win,” Newton stated.

Added Brief: “It was an unsightly win. On the finish of the day we acquired the job finished. We’re within the playoffs, one other step to the place we’re making an attempt to get to.”

For the Bucs it was one other shut loss, the story of their season.

“We play collectively, however we simply have to determine the final step, that is it,” stated Tampa Bay cornerback Brent Grimes.

PLAYOFF SCENARIO: Carolina can nonetheless clinch the NFC South championship, however it will want a win over Atlanta and a…

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