Reporter Joseph Person grades the Carolina Panthers performance against the Buccaneers.
A QUARTERBACK : Cam Newton continued his hot streak with another strong passing performance. Newton completed 23 of 32 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for a season-high 50 yards and another score. He completed passes to nine receivers.
B RUNNING BACKS : The Panthers got fullback Mike Tolbert involved early. Tolbert had a personal foul penalty on the first drive his second in as many games. But he bounced back with several nice blocks a 3-yard TD catch. DeAngelo Williams 12-yard TD run was his first of the season.
B RECEIVERS : Ted Ginn Jr. dropped a deep throw from Newton in the first half that would have gone for a long gain, if not a touchdown. But Ginn had a good game otherwise, catching five passes for 80 yards, his most prolific game since 2009, when he was with the Dolphins.
B OFFENSIVE LINE : The line protected Newton fairly well, allowing three sacks. The group also helped Panthers backs rush for about 5 yards a carry. Tolbert ran behind Chris Scott and Byron Bell for 2 yards on a fourth-and-1 call in the third quarter.
B DEFENSIVE LINE : The front four generated consistent pressure on rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, sacking the former N.C. State standout three times and harassing him on several other occasions. Defensive end Charles Johnson had two sacks, but sustained a leg injury in the final minute.
B LINEBACKERS : Thomas Davis turned in another strong effort with seven solo tackles and three pass breakups. Davis picked up an unnecessary roughness penalty late in the game. Luke Kuechly had eight tackles, including five solo stops.
B DEFENSIVE BACKS : Undrafted rookie cornerback Melvin White got his first start in place of the struggling Josh Thomas and played well. Corner Captain Munnerlyn dropped a sure interception late in the game, but got his hands on a number of passes.
B SPECIAL TEAMS : Colin Jones, who missed two practices this week due to a personal matter, recovered Eric Pages muffed punt to set up a touchdown. Richie Brockels failure to recover an onside kick contributed to sloppy play at the end of the win.
B COACHING : The Panthers took care of business against a winless team, taking an early lead and never trailing. Riverboat Ron Rivera went for another fourth-and-1, which led to a Panthers touchdown. And for the first time in five years, the Panthers have a winning record.
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