The Carolina Panthers improved to 5-7 Sunday with a 16-6 win over Tampa Bay – a victory keyed by the defense’s five interceptions against Bucs rookie quarterback Josh Freeman.
Four of those interceptions – including two by linebacker Jon Beason – occurred inside the Panther 10 – and kept Tampa Bay from scoring any points on several drives that seemed sure to net something.
Panther quarterback Matt Moore played well enough to win – he threw one interception but also hit on a 66-yard deep ball to Steve Smith and avoided making too many huge mistakes. Moore’s final numbers: 14-for-20 for 161 yards, zero TDs and one pickoff.
Carolina’s lone TD came on a run by Jonathan Stewart, who had a 100-yard game and shouldered the lion’s share of the carries after DeAngelo Williams missed the game due to injury.
But the defense really won this one (and Carolina was also helped by Tampa Bay field goal kicker Connor Barth missing a couple of relatively easy ones).
Beason had two interceptions, Charles Godfrey had one, Chris Harris picked one off in the end zone and Chris Gamble rounded it off with an interception in the final seconds.
I’ll have my traditional “5 things” Panthers postgame blog up around 5:30 or 6 p.m.