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(Sunday, October 18th)
Final Score: Carolina 28, Tampa Bay 21
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - DeAngelo Williams' touchdown with 29 seconds left in the fourth quarter was the difference, as Carolina kept Tampa Bay winless with a 28-21 decision at Raymond James Stadium.
Williams ended with a game-best 152 yards and two scores on 30 carries for the Panthers (2-3), winners of two in a row after dropping three to start the year.
Jonathan Stewart posted 110 yards and a touchdown on 17 rushes to pick up Jake Delhomme, who completed only 9-of-17 passes for 65 yards, one score and two interceptions.
"It was only a matter of time, though. Sometimes when you have a running offense, it takes a while to warm up and get things going," said Carolina head coach John Fox of the ground game. "We're getting a little bit better every time, we're almost near where we were at the end of last season."
Cadillac Williams gained 77 yards and one TD on 16 carries for the Buccaneers (0-6), who haven't begun a season by dropping six in a row since starting 1985 by losing nine straight.
Josh Johnson threw for 147 yards and a pick on 11-of-17 passing while Sammie Stroughter added three catches for 65 yards and a 97-yard kickoff return for a score in the loss.
Tampa knotted the game with 8:33 to play as Tanard Jackson had a clear lane to intercept a pass over the middle and race 26 yards for a touchdown.
However, the Panthers drove 80 yards and used up more than eight minutes of the clock to walk away with the victory.
Williams gained 12 yards over the first two plays of the drive, then Stewart converted a pair of third downs to further the march. Williams picked up another first down with a five-yard gain on 2nd-and-4 from the Tampa 17 just after the two-minute warning, then converted a 3rd-and-1 from the Bucs' three before taking it in on 1st-and-goal from the one for the go-ahead score.
Following the kickoff, Johnson was sacked, but his fumble was recovered at the Buccaneers' nine. On second down, Johnson hit Kellen Winslow, but the subsequent lateral to Stroughter failed after only 15 yards as time expired.
"We've got to play consistent for all 60 minutes," said Bucs defensive lineman Chris Hovan. "It can't be for periods in the first quarter, third quarter, it's gotta be 1-2-3 and four, especially bearing down on the last series of the game."
The Bucs jumped out to an early lead, completing their first possession of the contest on Williams' 20-yard run to the end zone.
Carolina countered early in the second quarter when Williams broke free for a 20-yard TD run and 7-7 tie, and the game remained deadlocked until halftime.
Jeff King's one-yard TD catch on Carolina's first possession of the second half put the Panthers ahead 14-7. The drive was set up when Thomas Davis picked off Johnson and raced 24 yards to the Bucs' 12.
Stewart added a 26-yard touchdown run to put the visitors ahead by 14 points, but Stroughter raced 97 yards on the kickoff for a 21-14 game.
Carolina has won 10 of the last 13 meetings, including six of the last seven in Tampa...The Panthers outrushed the Bucs 267-124...Both teams fared well on third downs, with Carolina going 8-for-14 and Tampa Bay converting 6-of-11.
10/18 17:59:53 ET
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