LOSS - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 00 Carolina Panthers 24
The Buccaneers entered the game with a three-game winning streak and slim playoff opportunity to prevent a 14th straight losing season. The Panthers defense had other plans and virtually accounted for nearly all the points this game. Defensive end Shawn King returned Trent Dilfer's fumble 12 yards for a touchdown and later his interception setting up another Panther score in the 00-24 shutout.
"It kind of makes you put everything into perspective," Buccaneers linebacker Lonnie Marts said. "You're 3-0, you're on a little winning streak and you could get a big head. But this game lets you know that you're just not that good yet. You've got to go out and work on some things. It puts you back where you belong."
"We got a taste of what December football is all about, playoff-type football," Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy said. "Carolina has an excellent team. I think we learned some things. We learned how far we've got to go."
Dilfer, considered one of the league's primier quarterbacks, was against a powerhouse blitzing defense, which has allowed the fewest points in the NFL this season. The Panthers forced two fumbles, intercepted Dilfer twice and reached the end zone before their offense did.
On the first play of the second quarter, Dilfer was sacked by cornerback Toi Cook, forcing a fumble that was returned 12 yards by King for a touchdown. To cap the loss Dilfer went to the flats looking for an opportunity with Karl Williams and Pro Bowler Eric Davis picked th epass returning the interception 39 yards to set up the second TD, a 1-yard run by Howard Griffith.
- REFEREE: Bob McElwee
- UMPIRE: Jim Duke
- HEAD LINESMAN: Tony Veteri
- LINE JUDGE: Byron Boston
- SIDE JUDGE: Bill Carollo
- FIELD JUDGE: Scott Green
- BACK JUDGE: Louis Richard
- REPLAY OFFICAL: Not Documented
- VIDEO OPERATOR: Not Documented
- PANTHERS: 1:59-1Q Kasay FG23
- PANTHERS: 14:54-2Q King 12 fumble return (Kasay kick)
- PANTHERS: 8:02-3Q Griffith 1 run (Kasay kick)
- PANTHERS: 3:10-4Q Johnson 25 run (Kasay kick)
- TE: #84 R. Thomas
- LT: #74 P. Gruber
- LG: #60 J. Pyne
- C: #61 T. Mayberry
- RG: #62 I. Beckles
- RT: #70 J. Odom
- TE: #81 J. Harris
- WR: #85 C. Hawkins
- QB: #12 T. Dilfer
- RB: #32 E. Rhett
- FB: #40 M. Alstott
- LE: #72 C. Ahanotu
- LT: #77 B. Culpepper
- RT: #99 W. Sapp
- RE: #73 R. Upshaw
- LLB: #51 L. Marts
- MLB: #56 H. Nickerson
- RLB: #55 D. Brooks
- LCB: #35 M. Mayhew
- RCB: #21 D. Abraham
- SS: #47 J. Lynch
- FS: #25 M. Johnson
- 1 Marshall, 5 Husted, 6 Barnhardt, 23 Bouie, 29 Gant, 33 Staten, 37 Ellison, 39 Dimry, 45 Legette, 50 Gooch, 57 Jones, 64 Diaz, 69 Pierson, 75 Curry, 78 Jones, 82 Tate, 83 Moore, 86 Williams, 93 DuBose, 94 White
DID NOT PLAY
- 11 Weldon, 68 Crisman, 80 Harper
- 13 Milanovich, 22 Mincy, 27 Austin, 41 Brooks, 67 Ingram, 87 Silvan, 90 Maniecki, 97 Jackson
- BUCCANEERS: Rhett 18-68, Ellison 3-9, Alstott 2-1.
- PANTHERS: Johnson 26-111, Oliver 1-14, Ismail 1-7, Griffith 1-1, Collins 1-(-1).
- BUCCANEERS: Dilfer 41-23-236-2-0.
- PANTHERS: Collins 24-14-83-0-0.
- BUCCANEERS: Thomas 6-66, Alstott 5-52, Harris 4-52, Ellison 4-32, Hawkins 2-15, Williams 1-12, Moore 1-7.
- PANTHERS: Walls 4-32, Carrier 3-31, Johnson 3-2, Green 2-20, Griffith 1-2, Oliver 1-(-4).
- BUCCANEERS: none
- PANTHERS: Davis 1-39, King 1-1.
- BUCCANEERS: Marshall 3-53.
- PANTHERS: Ismail 1-14.
- BUCCANEERS: Marshall 3-14.
- PANTHERS: Oliver 2-18.
- BUCCANEERS: none
- PANTHERS: Cook 1-12, Smith 1-9, Lathon 1-7, Greene 1-2.