TAMPA, Fla. -- The Greg Schiano era officially began in Tampa Bay on Sunday with the Bucs beating Carolina at home, 16-10.
With a new look and a new identity, the Bucs knocked off a divisional foe that had beaten them five out of the last seven meetings, shutting down the Panthers' multi-dimensional offense.
Carolina's second-year quarterback, Cam Newton had virtually all running lanes shut down by a hungry Buccaneer defense that managed to pick off Newton twice and sack him three times.
Without the aid of running back Jonathan Stewart, who sat out with an ankle sprain, and all eyes on DeAngelo Williams, Carolina's ground game was stuck in neutral. The Panthers finished with just 10 yards total rushing.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneers marched down the field on their opening drive, with quarterback Josh Freeman completing 7-of-7 passes, capping things off with a 6-yard touchdown strike to receiver Mike Williams.
The Bucs settled for a field goal from kicker Connor Barth of their next drive to extend the Bucs' lead to 10-0. It was a lead they did not relinquish the entire game.
The Panthers trailed 13-0 before they began a rally in the third quarter with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Newton to Brandon LaFell, inching Carolina within six points.
Combined with some defensive adjustments, the Panthers stayed in the game until the fourth quarter. With 11:19 remaining in a one-possession ball game, Bucs defensive end Adrian Clayborn blocked a punt that was recovered by Aqib Talib. The Bucs turned that into a 40-yard field goal from Barth to make it 16-7.
Then with 5:06 on the clock, the Panthers engineered an impressive 86-yard drive, with the help of a 20-yard pass to Mike Tolbert and a 51-yard pass to newly acquired receiver Louis Murphy. But the drive ended at the Tampa Bay 3-yard line and the Panthers were forced to settle for a field goal.
Notes: Schiano becomes the first Buccaneer head coach to win in his debut since Sam Wyche in 1992...Ronde Barber started his 200th consecutive game for Tampa Bay, but it was his first time playing at free safety. The 16-year veteran recorded a sack and an interception. Interestingly, Schiano had Barber line up at nickel corner on the defense's first play so he could officially get his 200th start at the position.