Panthers Pummel Bucs

The Panthers went on the road and manhandled the Buccaneers 34-14 at Raymond James Stadium in an NFC South showdown, sacking quarterback Chris Simms five times and forcing four turnovers. Carolina recorded its fifth consecutive win after a 1-2 start.

The Panthers dominated in every phase, and the outcome was never really in doubt as Carolina beat Tampa Bay for the fifth straight time.

Stephen Davis scored two touchdowns, and Steve Smith continued his torrid pace with five catches for 106 yards, adding to his league-leading total with his ninth touchdown reception.

"I don't know if you want to say it's a statement game, but I think it's a step in the right direction," said quarterback Jake Delhomme, who turned in his second straight turnover-free game. "We are starting to take those steps, and since the bye week we've put two pretty good games together."

PLAYER NOTES
--TE Kris Mangum left the Tampa Bay game with a knee sprain. The status of the injury was not immediately known, but quarterback Jake Delhomme said he spoke with Mangum after the game and said he doesn't believe the injury is serious. "He seemed in good spirits," Delhomme said.

--RB Stephen Davis ran for two touchdowns but left the Tampa Bay game early after it got out of hand. Davis has scored 11 touchdowns on the season, eight of those coming on 1-yard runs.

--WR Steve Smith registered his sixth 100-yard receiving game of the season Sunday and is now averaging more than 112 receiving yards per game. It seems that nobody can cover Smith, who already has nine receiving touchdowns on the season in eight games.

--QB Jake Delhomme was outstanding again against Tampa Bay, playing his second straight error-free game. The Panthers have scored 72 points in their two games since the bye week.

--CB Chris Gamble had two interceptions, including one he returned 61 yards for a touchdown on Sunday against the Buccaneers. Gamble has stepped up his play since coming back from an ankle injury.

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