In fact, the game dribbled into Friday morning thanks to a 25-minute delay in the first quarter because of an electrical storm in Charlotte, North Carolina.
It was an unprepossessing performance from Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, who finished with 208 passing yards but managed to avoid a turnover after throwing three interceptions in week one.
"I managed the game," Winston said. "I protected the football and I gave the team a chance to win and we won. A win is a win."
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton finished with 324 passing yards, but he connected on just 25 of 51 passes and was held without a touchdown for the second straight game -- while also coughing up a fumble.
Carolina scored all of their points on field goals and a safety.
On the Panthers' final drive, Tampa Bay's defense denied Christian McCaffrey after he took a snap out of the wildcat formation to take over on downs.
McCaffrey, who piled up 209 yards and two touchdowns in the season-opener against the Los Angeles Rams, was held to 53 total yards from scrimmage.