News & Analysis

NFL Week 2 PFF ReFocused: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20, Carolina Panthers 14

Jameis Winston made his fair share of mistakes in this one, but he made fewer mistakes than his opponent, Cam Newton, and was backed by a high-performing defense. Winston's Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Carolina Panthers 20-16 on Thursday Night Football to kick off Week 2.

PFF's ReFocused series features immediate takeaways from the two analysts who graded the game live. The two offer a detailed breakdown of the game's most notable performances before the grades and advanced stats are reviewed and finalized by Senior Analysts.

All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game and the other games played this week will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle. ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts and more in Premium Stats.

PFF's ELITE subscribers can also preview NFL and NCAA games in PFF Greenline, an online dashboard with projections for the spread, totals and moneyline.

Final Score

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20, Carolina Panthers 16

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jameis Winston made quite a few impressive throws with pressure bearing down on him and made very few mental mistakes. He did have a few inaccurate passes, with one of those being an underthrow that would have been an interception if Luke Kuechly didn't drop the errant pass.

Left tackle Donovan Smith struggled in pass protection but did hold his own in the run game, picking up several key blocks on the ground.

Shaquil Barrett was the star of the game for the Buccaneers' defense. He generated multiple sacks in the game, was a constant source of pressure and forced multiple off-target throws.

Vita Vea generated some impressive pass-rush wins against the Panthers' offense, as he showed great athleticism along with his size and strength.

Rookie Takeaways

Anthony Nelson had a strong outing against Carolina, picking up multiple defensive stops and a key forced fumble in the contest.

Carolina Panthers

Luke Kuechly didn't have any huge splash plays, but he seems to always find the ball carrier and be around the ball. He had a ton of stops at or around the line of scrimmage and had an opportunity for an interception on a pass thrown right to him but was unable to come down with it.

Safety Eric Reid had a couple of poor plays in this game, including one where he came in wildly at a running back catching a pass out of the backfield who performed a spin move and made Reid whiff his attempt. He was also beat for a would-be touchdown on the last play of the third quarter but was bailed out when it went right through the receiver's hands.

Cam Newton and the Panthers came within one yard of tying the game within the last minute of the game. However, Newton was inaccurate throughout the game, forcing his receivers to react to off-target passes or missing them altogether.

Christian McCaffrey continues to be the engine of the Panthers' offense as he never seems to come off the field. The Buccaneers' defense kept him largely in check. McCaffrey couldn't pick up the last crucial yard to win the game.

Rookie Takeaways

First-round edge defender Brian Burns had multiple pressures in what was a solid pass-rushing performance for the Florida State product.

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