Panthers Remain Winless on Road

The Carolina Panthers kicked off the second half of their schedule by repeating the mistakes that caused them to go 1-7 in the first half. RB Mike Goodson turned the ball over; the defense was gashed by big runs; and the offense sputtered all afternoon as the Panthers fell to 1-8.

Things got ugly fast when Mike Goodson fumbled the ball five plays into Carolina's opening drive. The Buccaneers immediately took advantage, needing four plays to move 47 yards on a drive capped off by an 8-yard TD pass from Josh Freeman to Arrelious Been.

The Panthers moved the ball well on their next possession and flipped field position. After punting the Buccaneers deep into their own territory and forcing a three-and-out, Carolina answered with its first scoring drive, which culminated in a 46-yard field goal by John Kasay.

As good teams tend to do, Tampa Bay answered immediately. LeGarrette Blount led the resurgence, carrying five times for 73 yards on that drive alone, finishing it off with a twisting TD that extended the Buccaneers' lead to 14-3.

WR David Clowney
J. Meric/Getty
Carolina needed a lot of help to register its only TD. Dante Rosario recovered a muffed punt to give the Panthers excellent field position. Goodson (18-yard run) and David Gettis (18-yard catch) made big plays to set up Josh Vaughan, who scored from 2 yards out for his first career TD to make it a 14-10 ballgame.

Tampa Bay answered again before halftime when Freeman (18-of-24, 241 yards, two touchdowns) hit Kellen Winslow on a beautiful seam route to restore the home team's two-score lead.

The second half was a field goal fest, with Carolina bagging two in the third and Tampa Bay netting one in the fourth. It was a one-possession game late until Carnell Williams exploded up the middle for a 45-yard touchdown run on third-and-11.

The Panthers got one final possession, which ended with Jimmy Clausen (16-of-29, 191 yards) coming up short on a pair of QB sneaks from the 1-yard line. It was a fitting end for a Carolina team that has come up just short time and time again.

Cat Quicks

--Goodson finished with 100 yards on 23 carries, hitting the century mark in his first ever start. That was twice as many rushing yards as his first eight games combined.

--Steve Smith (47 yards), Gettis (42 yards) and Brandon LaFell (36 yards) finished with three catches apiece. David Clowney also made his biggest catch since joining the Panthers, a 25-yard grab on third-and-5.

--Nic Harris, making his first start for the Panthers, led the team in tackles with 11.

--Everette Brown posted his first sack of the season.

--With Goodson concentrating on his offensive duties, rookies Jordan Pugh and Gettis handled the kickoff returns. Pugh averaged 22 yards on three returns while Gettis averaged 17 yards on two returns.

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Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and also a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. You can see more of his updates by following him on Twitter.

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