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Panthers at Buccaneers offensive preview: Are Kyle Allen fumbles an international incident?

Kyle Allen, Dennis Daley, and, of course, Christian McCaffrey are the names to watch against the Buccaneers in London.

Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers (3-2) are on their way to London to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) for the second time already in the 2019 season. These two rivals are locked in a tight race for second place in the division, with the Panthers currently on top thanks to a superior win-loss record. A loss in London, however, would tie up those records and give the Bucs a hefty tie breaker in terms of head-to-head results.

Last time, Tampa managed to win in spite of a clearly wounded Cam Newton putting up 333 yards in the air. That may have had something to with the fact that the team as a whole only managed about 10% of that total in rushing. The Bucs keyed on Christian McCaffrey, who put up a season low 16 carries for 37 yards, and kept the Panthers one dimensional on offense.

This week is setting up as a different game entirely with McCaffrey coming off of two transcendent efforts against the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars and Kyle Allen proving to be a good luck charm quarterback. Read on to find out the Panthers three offensive keys to the game.

Christian McCaffrey needs to average more than 2.3 yards per carry

This game is actually pretty simple, as far as Carolina is concerned. McCaffrey has been the everything in this offense the past two games and that tracks with the success this team has seen, outside of a healthy Newton and an aberrant 2019 debut performance by Allen, since the start of 2018.

Success begins and ends with a strong game by the Panthers tailbacks. I am speaking very specifically here because, while McCaffrey needs to have a better game than last time, the entire offense doesn’t need to revolve around just the one player. Reggie Bonnafon has proven capable of sharing the load (yes, I am going to beat this bush again). A strong running game and a passing attack built with screens and plenty of hot reads coming out of the backfield is the best recipe for success that the Panthers have.

Allen has proven he isn’t capable of much more right now and the Bucs pass rush has certainly proven that they are. A fast game that limits the influence of Shaquil Barrett is an absolute must.

Dennis Daley needs help

Daley had a phenomenal debut against the Jaguars on Sunday. A 6th round rookie starting at left tackle is nobody’s dream scenario, but Daley held together well enough to allow the Panthers to win. That is more than could be said for Daryl Williams during his second start at left tackle opposite the Bucs’ Shaq Barrett.

This is no slight on Daley, Barrett leads the league in sacks with nine through five games. Three of those sacks came with Williams rolling out the red carpet for him. Daley is going to need help early and often if the Panthers are going to avoid another series of third down, drive destroying sacks.

Kyle Allen has a ball security issue that needs to be fixed

With the highest passer rating amongst undefeated quarterbacks in 2019, Allen has a really nice peg to hang his hat on.

What he doesn’t have, however, is a record as spotless as that little bit of trivia implies. He has lost five of six fumbles in three games. That projects to losing 27 of 32 fumbles across a full 16 game season. That also doesn’t account for the seventh fumble (recovered by the Panthers) or the interception that were negated by penalties against the Jaguars.

He has been mostly careful and more than a little lucky when it comes to pushing the ball down the field, but it has gotten to the point that I hug my loved ones when a pass rusher breaks wind in his vicinity. Allen has to do a better job of holding on to the football. He also has to do a better job pushing the ball down the field if the Panthers intend to keep winning with him under center, but that’s a longer term problem.

For now, limiting the consistent fumbles in a gameplan that allows McCaffrey—and, fingers crossed, Bonnafon—to see consistent success on the ground and in the short passing game, should be enough to see the Panthers to a victory and a tied division record against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.