Kyle Allen became the first undrafted quarterback, since Kurt Warner, to win his first four starts as the Carolina Panthers beat their NFC South rivals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 37-26 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Christian McCaffrey rushed for two touchdowns in the first-half, but turnovers from the Buccaneers proved costly as the Panthers had a 10-point lead at the half.
Curtis Samuel rushed into the end zone from eight-yards during the third-quarter as Carolina stretched their lead out further after another interception from Jameis Winston.
Samuel’s second touchdown of the game made it a three-possession game, but the Bucs just wouldn’t go down in the fourth quarter, with Cameron Brate and Dare Ogunbowale scored touchdowns.
Winston’s afternoon was summed up with his fifth interception at the end of the fourth quarter, meaning the Panthers defense finished with six takeaways and seven sacks and the team scored 20 points off turnovers.
Winston Throws Interception on First Play of the Game
The action started from the very first snap of the game as Winston’s pass, wide left, was picked off by James Bradberry and gave the Panthers great field position.
However, Tampa Bay’s defense stood up and forced a quick three-and-out, with the Panthers having to settle for a Joey Slye field goal to put points on the board early.
The Panthers put together a 12-play, 99-yard drive in the first quarter, which saw the offense march down the field and score their first touchdown of the game.
Ron Rivera, on fourth down, opted to go for it. McCaffrey was handed the ball and was stopped by the Bucs defense, but stretched to get the ball over the goal-line.
Going into the second quarter, the Bucs needed a break and they got one after Ray-Ray McCloud fumbled the ball after Ryan Smith’s take and Kevin Minter recovered it.
Tampa Bay made the most of the short field and running-back Ronald Jones rushed into the end zone from five-yards to put his team on the board.
McCaffrey Scores Second Rushing Touchdown of First-Half
Winston, who had already been sacked four times in the game, threw his second pick after his arm was hit by Bruce Irvin and Javien Elliott stooped low to catch the ball.
Again, the Panthers had good field position to start the drive. With pressure coming, Allen dumped a pass wide left to McCaffrey, who broke two takes before getting into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game.
Two forced fumbles, after hits to Winston, saw the Panthers get the ball back, but there was drama right to the very end of the first-half.
Not a lot of people knew what was going on when Panthers kicker Slye had a ‘freekick’. Essentially a field-goal, but without any pressure from the opposition special team. However, the 60-yard attempt went wide of the upright.
Buccaneers Fight Back Late on, but Carolina See Game Through
After a quiet start to the second-half, Slye kicked a 46-yard field goal and the Panthers stretched their lead to 20-points after Luke Kuechly picked off Winston’s pass to set the offense up in the red zone.
The ball was handed off to Samuel, who rushed right for a walk-in touchdown. Everything that could’ve gone wrong for the Bucs quarterback, went wrong in London and Tampa Bay were down by 17-points going into the final quarter of the game.
Allen threw a touchdown pass to Samuel, his second of the game, but the Buccaneers wouldn’t go away and responded by marching down the field and scoring through tight-end Brate - followed by a successful two-point conversion to Mike Evans.
Bobo Wilson muffed a punt and the Bucs put three more points on the board as a result. Ogunbowale rushed up the middle for a touchdown before Winston punched the ball into the end zone on another two-point conversion.
Richie Brockel picked off Winston and Bradberry done the same late on as the Panthers defense put the game on ice. Both teams are on a bye week next week, but in Week 8, the Buccaneers take on the Tennessee Titans, while the Panthers take on the San Francisco 49ers.