The Panthers survived a late comeback by Tampa Bay and won their second straight game, 28-21, Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, behind 100-yard plus rushing games from both DeAngelo Williams (152) and Jonathan Stewart (110).
Carolina is now 2-3 on the season and has another winnable game at home against Buffalo next Sunday. Tampa Bay is 0-6.
With the score tied 21-all following a Jake Delhomme interception that was returned for a TD, the Panthers put the game in the hands of their running backs and offensive line. On the final drive, Carolina repeatedly ran the ball with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, and Tampa Bay seemed almost powerless to stop them.
UPDATED: Much like the Panthers' Monday night win over Tampa Bay last December, this game was ultimately decided by the Panthers' ability to bash their way through the Bucs. In fact, those games now rank No.1 and No.2 in terms of Panthers' all-time rushing yardage: 299 against Tampa last December and 267 against Tampa on Sunday.
The Panthers' 80-yard game-winning drive, which started with 8:33 left in the fourth quarter, ultimately ended with a 1-yard DeAngelo Williams TD plunge with 0:29 left. The 8-minute drive consisted of 16 plays -- 15 runs and one 4-yard flanker screen from Delhomme to Steve Smith (which was Smith's only catch of the game).
Tampa Bay then got the ball back with 29 seconds left on its own 20 but only got to its own 28 before time ran out.