Panthers vs Bucs Keys to the Game Rewind

Before we move on to the next game here's one last post on four plays that I felt were key to the outcome of the game. SBN's video team was kind enough to supply the GIFs needed to make my points.

Let's start with the offensive line play. This first GIF is from the 2nd quarter with 12:37 on the clock; 2nd and 8. I had the video guys focus on Silatolu but after reviewing it you'll see the entire left side doesn't block anybody.

Panthers3_medium

via assets.sbnation.com

By itself this is not a turning point kind of play but I selected it because it represented how the day went for the offensive line as a whole. On 2nd and 8 rather than getting 4 to 5 yards to set up a 3rd and short the play instead is busted and results in a 5 yard loss setting up 3rd and long. The Panthers did not convert and had to punt.

I've got three more key plays... after the jump...

Next up, with 9:06 left in the 3rd quarter on 1st and 10 from the 22 yard line Cam Newton makes a nice pump fake towards Armanti Edwards left to look off the LB allowing LaFell time to break free.

Panthers5_medium

via assets.sbnation.com

Newton gets the pass off just in time a step before MCoy arrives. I have to give the line props on the TD as they held it together just long enough.Though some one may disagree, I don't think Armanti was the key to the success of this play ;)

My 3rd key play occurs on the Panthers very next play from scrimmage and in my view was the turning point of the game. After Joe Adams gives the panthers great field position with a return to the TB 41 yard line and the Panthers feeling the momentum swing their way, Newton tries to squeeze a pass into LaFell over the middle for about 20 yards but LaFell is hit as the ball arrives, or is he hit before it arrives?

Panthers1_medium

via assets.sbnation.com

I admit its a close play but it looks to me like the safety was early and all over LaFell and causes him to bump forward. Let's just say if it had been called the other way there would not have been too much complaining. It was certainly just as bad as the call against Josh Norman int he 1st half.

As it was the INT totally deflated the sudden momentum just as quickly as it had built up.

This last play was essentially the nail in the coffin. Clinging to a six point lead the Bucs had held the Panthers and forced a punt with 11:19 in the 4th. Panthers punter Brad Nortman has already pinned the Bucs inside their 10 yard line twice and had a good shot at doing it again. Instead it was blocked:

Panthers2_medium

via assets.sbnation.com

At first we wanted to blame Nortman for taking too long to kick it. As it turns out the blame lays squarely at the feet of Haruki Nakamura. Ron Rivera said in his post game interview that Nakamura is in chargeof the snap and he should have adjusted the blocking to the right. Actually if you look I don't think Nakamura ever saw Talib on the edge coming unblocked. If so certainly he would have stepped out and got a shove on him. As it was the block set the Bucs up with nice field postion from which they extended their lead to 9 points from which they never looked back.

So there are my four key plays of the game.

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