WON - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20 Carolina Panthers 13
"You've got to drop that word `expansion,' " said Buccaneers LB Hardy Nickerson, asked about Tampa Bay's 0-4 opponent. "Let's just call it a team in its first year. Don't say expansion. Expansion leads everyone to believe this team should just get wiped out by the No. 1 high school team in the nation. This was a very good team we played today."
The game had all the makings of a disaster. Of historical proportions. After losing two leads, and starting quarterback Trent Dilfer with a mild concussion, the Buccaneers endured for a fourth quarter comeback in their 20-13 win over the expansion Carolina Panthers.
In search of a first regular-season franchise victory, in the Clemson's Memorial Stadium, the Panthers talons missed its prey with the Buccaneers escaping Clemson's Memorial Stadium with their third win in five games. "It feels good to get out of Death Valley alive," said Bucs defensive end Chidi Ahanotu, invoking the stadium's nickname. "Even when we thought we had them on the run, they were out there joking around and laughing, like they didn't have a care in the world. They had nothing to lose."
The Buccaneers' escape was credited to a solid play by backup quarterback Casey Weldon (9-of-20 for 156 yards and the game-winning 1-yard fourth-quarter touchdown plunge) and the Buccaneers defense forcing four Panthers turnovers (three fumbles and one interception), two in the fourth quarter. All four Carolina turnovers came inside the Buccaneers' 40, with Buccaneers fumble recoveries inside its red zone (at the 1 and 14).
- REFEREE: Larry Nemmers
- UMPIRE: Al Conway
- HEAD LINESMAN: Tom Johnson
- LINE JUDGE: Larry Upson
- SIDE JUDGE: Leslie Speight
- FIELD JUDGE: Don Orr
- BACK JUDGE: Bill Lovett
- REPLAY OFFICAL: Not Documented
- VIDEO OPERATOR: Not Documented
- BUCCANEERS: 11:06-1Q Rhett 1 run (Husted kick)
- PANTHERS: 11:37-2Q Moore 53 run (Kasay kick)
- BUCCANEERS: 5:26-2Q Husted FG25
- BUCCANEERS: 0:00-2Q Husted FG27
- PANTHERS: 8:18-3Q Metzalaars 4 pass from Collins (kick failed)
- BUCCANEERS: 14:57-4Q Weldon 1 run (Husted kick)
- TE: #86 T. Armstrong
- LT: #74 P. Gruber
- LG: #60 J. Pyne
- C: #61 T. Mayberry
- RG: #62 I. Beckles
- RT: #76 S. Dill
- TE: #81 J. Harris
- WR: #80 L. Dawsey
- QB: #12 T. Dilfer
- RB: #32 E. Rhett
- FB: #83 D. Moore
- LE: #72 C. Ahanotu
- LT: #77 M. Wheeler
- RT: #99 W. Sapp
- RE: #75 E. Curry
- LLB: #51 L. Marts
- MLB: #56 H. Nickerson
- RLB: #55 D. Brooks
- LCB: #35 M. Mayhew
- RCB: #39 C. Dimry
- SS: #27 B. Bussey
- FS: #22 T. Everett
- 1 Roby, 5 Husted, 11 Weldon, 21 McGruder, 26 Abraham, 29 Gant, 37 Ellison, 41 Edmonds, 44 Booty, 45 Stargell, 52 Rouse, 53 Brady, 54 Stephens, 67 Sullivan, 69 Pierson, 71 Dotson, 73 Culpepper, 82 Harper, 85 Hawkins, 87 Thomas, 88 Copeland, 93 DuBose, 94 McIntosh
DID NOT PLAY
- 15 Philcox, 25 Johnson, 28 Buckley, 47 Lynch, 65 Ingram, 70 McRae, 81 Davis, 95 Powe
- BUCCANEERS: Rhett 22-50, Ellison 2-8, Weldon 2-0.
- PANTHERS: Moore 21-123, Christian 5-20, Collins 2-14, Griffith 3-3, Workman 2-(-1).
- BUCCANEERS: Dilfer 12-3-55-0-0, Weldon 20-9-156-0-0, Roby 1-1-48-0-0.
- PANTHERS: Collins 32-18-234-1-1.
- BUCCANEERS: Harris 5-108, Harper 2-23, Hawkins 2-23, Booty 1-48, Copeland 1-40, Rhett 1-13, Dawsey 1-4.
- PANTHERS: Carrier 5-90, Green 3-33, Metzelaars 3-19, Christian 2-9, Guiliford 1-40, Workman 1-14, Tillman 1-12, Campbell 1-10, Beebe 1-7.
- BUCCANEERS: Booty 1-21.
- PANTHERS: none
- BUCCANEERS: Edmonds 3-47.
- PANTHERS: Baldwin 2-45, Bynote 1-17.
- BUCCANEERS: Edmonds 2-54.
- PANTHERS: Guliford 4-45.
- BUCCANEERS: none
- PANTHERS: Bailey 0.5-3.5, Fox 0.5-3.5.