Panthers 28

(2-3, 1-2 away)

Buccaneers 21

(0-6, 0-3 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, October 18, 2009

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL 

1 2 3 4 T
CAR 0 7 14 728
TB 7 0 7 721

Top Performers

Passing: J. Johnson (TB) - 147 YDS, 1 INT

Rushing: D. Williams (CAR) - 30 CAR, 152 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: S. Stroughter (TB) - 3 REC, 65 YDS

Williams has season-high 152 yards on 30 carries in Panthers' victory

Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- With the game on the line, Carolina's Jake Delhomme found a way to make up for costly mistakes the Panthers made to earlier help the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pull even.

The struggling quarterback turned and handed the ball to DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Over and over.

DeAngelo dominates early

DeAngelo Williams had his first 100-yard game of the season to help Carolina win its second straight. The key was Williams running strongest on first down. He was averaging just 3.4 yards per carry on first down entering the game, but had 6.3 against the Bucs.

Williams by down
1st down Other Downs
Att 16 14
Yards 100 52
Average 6.3 3.7
TD 2 0

-- ESPN Stats and Information

"I'm sure everybody in the stadium knew what we were going to do," Williams said after the defending NFC South champions drove 80 yards in the closing minutes to beat the winless Bucs 28-21 on Sunday.

"There were times they had nine in the box," the running back added, "and we were still getting 7 or 8 yards."

A week after getting their first win over lowly Washington, the Panthers (2-3) rushed for 267 yards and three touchdowns to extend Tampa Bay's worst start in 24 years.

The Bucs (0-6) have started a season with six straight losses for the first time since 1985. They've dropped 10 in a row dating to a lopsided defeat at Carolina in December, a slide that's their longest since 1977, when Tampa Bay was in the middle of an NFL-record 26-game skid.

Fast Facts

• The Panthers rushed for 267 yards on 48 carries to win their second straight game after starting 0-3. Both Jonathan Stewart (110) and DeAngelo Williams (152) had season highs in rushing yards.

• Jake Delhomme (9 for 17, 1 TD, 2 INTs) only attempted seven passes in the second half.

• The Buccaneers have lost 10 straight dating back to last season and are 0-6 for the first time since 1985. They started 0-9 and finished 1-14 that season.

• The Panthers' 48 rushing attempts tied the mark for second-most in franchise history.

• Rapid Reaction

-- ESPN Stats & Information

Williams gained a season-best 152 yards on 30 carries and scored twice, including the winning TD with 29 seconds left. The 1-yard dive capped a 16-play drive that took more than 8 minutes.

"That takes tough guys, and we try to breed that," Panthers coach John Fox said.

Delhomme, who had thrown two interceptions in the second half, only attempted one pass in the winning drive -- a 4-yarder for Steve Smith's only reception of the game.

Meanwhile, Williams carried eight times for 33 yards and Stewart gained 43 on seven attempts.

"We got overpowered at the end, and really throughout the game," Bucs rookie coach Raheem Morris said.

Carolina (2-3) squandered a 21-7 lead, giving up a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter and watching Tampa Bay tie the game on Tanard Jackson's 26-yard interception return.

But once the Panthers took the ball out of Delhomme's hands, Williams and Stewart took over. Eleven of the 15 runs on the final drive gained 5 or more yards; none of them ended with no gain or a loss.

Williams also scored on a 20-yard run in the second quarter. Stewart's 26-yard TD run put Carolina up 21-7 late in the third quarter.

Both also had big days in the last meeting between the NFC South rivals, when the Panthers ran for a franchise-record 299 yards. Heading into Sunday, Carolina was averaging 97.3 yards on the ground -- 23rd in the league.

Delhomme was 9 of 17 for 65 yards and one TD. His two interceptions helped the Bucs get back in the game, and Tampa Bay forced a third turnover when Jackson caused Stewart's fumble at the Bucs 3 in the second quarter.

Carolina also had to overcome losing safety Dante Wesley, who was ejected late in the first half after he launched himself into Bucs punt returner Clifton Smith, who had signaled for a fair catch.

The hit with 10 seconds left in the second quarter brought players from both teams off the sidelines. Wesley appeared to leave his feet and strike Smith in the upper body with his left shoulder.

Smith remained on the ground for a few minutes, then was helped to his feet and walked off the field. He missed the remainder of the game with a concussion.

"I was just trying to make a play," said Wesley, adding that he wasn't trying to hurt Smith, who was a Pro Bowl kick returner as a rookie last season.

The eighth-year pro said he hopes he doesn't draw a fine from the league.

"You can check my record. .... I've never really tried to hurt anybody. I've never tried to take a cheap shot on anybody," Wesley said.

Cadillac Williams gave Tampa Bay an early 7-0 lead with a 20-yard TD run. Sammie Stroughter's long kickoff return trimmed Carolina's lead to 21-14, then Jackson's TD tied it with 8:33 remaining.

Tampa Bay's Josh Johnson finished 11 of 17 for 147 yards and one interception, which linebacker Thomas Davis ran back 24 yards to set up Delhomme's 1-yard TD pass to Jeff King.

Cadillac Williams rushed for 77 yards on 16 carries. Johnson had 45 yards rushing, however he was sacked four times, with Julius Peppers and Charles Johnson each having two for the Panthers.

Game notes

Tampa Bay has been outscored 47-7 in the third quarter, its only points coming on Stroughter's kickoff return. ... Delhomme has thrown 10 interceptions in five games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs2212
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays6646
Total Yards322245
Yards per play4.95.3
Total Drives1111
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-30-0
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs02

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

tbTD11:07Cadillac Williams 20 Yard Run (Shane Andrus Kick is Good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 59 yds, 2:15
carTD11:59Deangelo Williams 20 Yard Run (John Kasay Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 67 yds, 3:22
carTD12:15Jeff King 1 Yard Pass From Jake Delhomme (John Kasay Kick is Good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 12 yds, 2:33
carTD2:44Jonathan Stewart 26 Yard Run (John Kasay Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 60 yds, 3:03
tbTD2:33Sammie Stroughter 97 Yard Kickoff Return (Shane Andrus Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 97 yds, 0:00
tbTD8:43Tanard Jackson 26 Yard Interception Return (Shane Andrus Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 17 yds, 3:38
carTD1:21Deangelo Williams 1 Yard Run (John Kasay Kick is Good)
Drive info: 16 plays, 80 yds, 8:04