The atmosphere at Raymond James Stadium was electric. The Bucs fans brought their enthusiasm and were recharged with tributes to Ronde Barber on the jumbo tron all game long. Video tributes by fan favorites like Derrick Brook, Mike Alstott, Tony Dungy. It was a celebration atmosphere and it helped keep the momentum for the Bucs.
Hopefully the Panthers will have reason to celebrate this Sunday. On with the grades...
No one notified me the Panthers would be showing their own tribute to 2010 by mimicking the anemic offense. Sloppy, undisciplined, and uninspired.
Two stats sum up the offensive, and by offensive I mean offensive, woes of the Panthers.
- 10 yards rushing total
- 2 for 10 on 3rd round conversions
Throw those two stats into any game this season, and it is a guaranteed Panthers loss.
Offensive Grade - F
While many fans are moaning about the defense, they did manage to hold a team in their own stadium on opening day to under 17 points. That should be good enough to win the game given an adequate offensive effort.
Jon Beason returned to form with 10 tackles, 9 of them solo. Much maligned Greg Hardy was second with 8 tackles, 6 of them solo. So there were some bright spots to talk about.
All in all, not a dominating performance, but they did manage to hold the Bucs to less than 17 points despite being on the field for nearly 40 minutes.
Defensive Grade: B-
Bobbled balls, blocked punt. On a day the Panthers needed perfect Special Teams play, they got below average instead. While they were adequate on containing the Bucs' returns, they were inept in other facets of the game.
Special Teams Grade: D
Ron Rivera, you were out coached by the finest college football mind New Jersey had to offer. That isn't a glowing testimonial. While it is difficult to game plan against an unknown, the Bucs did nothing spectacular in terms of game plan. In fact, they were quite vanilla.
Your team must be better prepared, mentally tougher, and execute better. This falls on you.
Coaching Grade - D-