TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers felt they beat themselves in a 31-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Four turnovers and nine penalties undermined the team’s chances.
And, it didn’t help that star running back Christian McCaffrey was slowed — and eventually sidelined for most of the fourth quarter — by what coach Matt Rhule described as a lower leg injury.
McCaffrey scored on runs of 1 and 7 yards, and the Panthers trimmed a 21-0 deficit to seven points early in the fourth quarter. He limped off the field after his second TD and didn’t play the final 13 minutes.