=== Buccaneers work overtime to finish off Panthers ===
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Josh Freeman found Dallas Clark down the left
sideline for the deciding touchdown to lift the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a
27-21 overtime win against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Freeman finished the game 25-for-46 passing for 248 yards, three touchdowns
and two interceptions. Vincent Jackson had six catches for 94 yards and Doug
Martin carried the ball 24 times for 138 yards, including 48 yards on the
decisive drive for the Bucs (6-4), who have won four straight.
"All wins are satisfying, but this one was fun," said Tampa Bay coach Greg
Schiano. "It is rewarding to those guys. It is so hard to win in the National
Football League, every win is great."
Cam Newton was 16-for-29 passing for 252 yards and a touchdown while Brandon
LaFell caught five passes for 93 yards and a score for the Panthers (2-8),
losers in two straight and seven of their last eight.
"This is as bad as it gets. We had every opportunity to win," said Carolina
coach Ron Rivera. "Wen you have an opportunity to close it out with a four-
minute offense you can't take negative plays and unfortunately we did. You
have an opportunity to stop them and for whatever reason you don't recognize
the formation and don't make the play.
Trailing 21-13 with just 1:02 left in regulation, Freeman orchestrated a
7-play, 80-yard drive to tie the game. Freeman found Jackson up the middle
for a 17-yard completion to put the ball at the Carolina 24. Freeman then
spiked the ball to stop the clock, and on the next play found Jackson in the
end zone for a touchdown.
Freeman then turned back to Jackson for the two-point conversion to knot the
game at 21-21 to force overtime.
Three consecutive runs by Martin to open up the overtime period put the ball
at the Panthers' 41 and Freeman found Mike Williams for a 13-yard completion.
Following two more Martin rushes and a 4-yard completion to Jackson, Freeman
tossed it to the sure-handed Clark for the game-winning 15-yard touchdown
Clark's defender tripped on the play and the tight end waltzed into the end
After a three-and-out on their first touch the Bucs were forced to punt, but
Captain Munnerlyn fumbled on the return and Tampa Bay capitalized on the
miscue six plays later when Freeman found Nick Byham for a 3-yard touchdown
Freeman dropped back and the pocket immediately collapsed, but Freeman tossed
it to the back of the end zone and Byham seemingly came out of no where and
made the catch to give Tampa Bay the early 7-0 lead.
Connor Barth's 51-yard field goal gave the Buccaneers a 10-0 cushion with
5:21 left in the first quarter.
Munnerlyn made up for his special teams blunder and picked off Freeman before
returning it 74 yards for a touchdown. Freeman was wrapped up by two Carolina
defenders and was being dragged down when he threw the ill-advised pass.
Stewart's 1-yard touchdown run capped an 8-play, 77-yard drive to put the
Panthers up 14-10 with 8:53 left in the second. Earlier, Newton hit Steve
Smith for a 17-yard catch-and-run on 3rd-and-2 to put the ball at the Tampa
11. The Bucs were then flagged for pass interference on 3rd-and-10 to set up
Justin Medlock missed a 40-yard field goal at the 2:42 mark in the second
quarter that would have extended the Panthers' lead to seven points.
The Bucs had an opportunity to take a 17-14 lead early in the fourth after
getting inside the Panthers' 10-yard line, but Martin fumbled on 4th-and-1
resulting in a touchback for Carolina.
Martin broke the first tackle, but the ball came lose just before he crossed
the goal line.
The Panthers went up 21-10 when Newton found LaFell for a 29-yard touchdown
pass. Earlier, Newton found LaFaell for a 20-yard gain before a 17-yard
completion to Smith got the ball down to the Tampa 29 before dialing up LaFell
on the next play for the score.
The Bucs kept their hopes alive with Barth's 40-yard field goal to cap a 10-
play, 58-yard drive.
Freeman has thrown at least two touchdowns in six straight games ... The last
time Tampa Bay won four straight was the 2008 season ... Carolina is 1-3
against NFC South opponents this season.
11/18 20:54:18 ET