Winless Panthers, Buccaneers collide on short week
Field Level Mediaon
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers had similar outlooks after one game.
Just get better -- and do it in a hurry.
The teams have a short turnaround for Week 2 when they face off Thursday night at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
"We just got to play better," Panthers tight end Greg Olsen said. "It doesn't take a lot of football knowledge to understand a lot of things we did (in the opener) are hard to overcome."
The Buccaneers had plenty of self-inflicted problems in a disturbing home loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
"Learn from what you did, get it corrected," said coach Bruce Arians, who's in search of his first victory with Tampa Bay. "Week 1 or Week 10, it's about the next one. ... This is a quick turnaround, so it kind of helps mentally. We get right into our game plan."
The Buccaneers want to avoid a downward spiral, and there's not time to lament the shortcomings in the opener.
"I guess the good thing is we're playing on Thursday," Tampa Bay tight end Cameron Brate said.
Carolina came closer in a 30-27 setback to the Los Angeles Rams, the reigning NFC champions.
"We just need to clean some stuff up," Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly said.
Two of Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston's three interceptions against San Francisco were returned for touchdowns in the 31-17 loss.
"We've got to eliminate those type of plays or we won't beat anybody," Arians said.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who like Winston is a former Heisman Trophy winner, had a rather uneven performance in the first game. He's bound to be ready for this challenge.
"Cam is a prime-time player, so we're going to get his best," Arians said.
Containing Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey will be one of the priorities for Tampa Bay. He racked up 209 yards from scrimmage (128 on the ground, 81 receiving) for the sixth-most in NFL in a season opener in the past 20 years.
Otherwise, the Panthers will look to fix numerous areas.
"We just have to get that edge back," Newton said.
The Buccaneers had trouble converting on some of their chances. The red zone offense is in need of immediate attention.
"We can do a better job running routes, especially the deep stuff," Arians said.
Tampa Bay offensive tackle Donovan Smith said the Buccaneers can't be easing into the early part of season.
"We've just got to stop beating ourselves," Smith said.
Both teams came out of their openers in relatively good health, though Olsen missed Tuesday's practice with an ailing back. He's likely to play Thursday.
Carolina defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who played his first nine seasons with Tampa Bay before joining the Panthers in the offseason, will be facing his former team.
Until New Orleans' last-play victory against Houston on Monday night, every NFC South team lost its opener. This will be the first intra-divisional game for any of the four teams.
Carolina has won nine of its last 12 meetings with the Buccaneers. These teams will play twice in about a month's time, with the rematch Oct. 13 in London.