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NFL | CAROLINA PANTHERS 31, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 13

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Panthers WR Ted Ginn Jr. does what he does best – and worst

TAMPA, Fla. Both of Ted Ginn Jr.’s most well-known attributes were on display in Thursday night’s 31-13 win against the Buccaneers.

Ginn showed his speed – what he’s been known from since high school – racing down the sideline in the second quarter for a 35-yard gain.

Then he showed off his more dubious attribute, one that’s plagued him since his days in Miami, when he dropped what could have been a 73-yard touchdown pass.

Still, Ginn proved to be an asset, finishing with a team-high 80 receiving yards on five catches as the Panthers cruised to their fourth win of the season.

Early in the second quarter, out of the shotgun, quarterback Cam Newton hit Ginn on a short pass in the middle of the field from the Tampa Bay 47. Ginn outran a Buccaneers defender who had the angle and picked up 35 yards to get Carolina inside the red zone.

One play later, DeAngelo Williams found paydirt for Carolina’s second score of the game.

But it was his drop that fans might remember more than his blazing speed, the same kind of speed that made Newton swear in the spring he would never again underthrow.

Ginn had a step on the Buccaneers’ secondary on the first play of the Panthers’ second drive of the half. Newton placed the ball perfectly, and considering Ginn’s speed, it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility that he could take off for a 73-yard touchdown.

Instead, Ginn didn’t let the ball slip through his hands but more through his forearms as the ball fell harmlessly to the ground with 9:46 remaining in the first half. “It was just a drop,” Ginn said. “I tried to run without the rock.”

Ginn’s hands have betrayed him his entire professional career. In Miami, he was so known for the dubious distinction that someone made a 11/2-minute compilation of his drops set to the music of Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot.”

He also put the ball on the deck in the first quarter on a punt return, but the call was reversed when he was ruled down by contact before the ground caused his fumble.

This year, Ginn, who signed a one-year deal for $800,000 this offseason, has shored up his drops. Entering the game he was third on the team in receiving yards with 277 yards. His 90 receiving yards were his most as a Panther this season.

He’s also morphed into a dependable No. 3 wide receiver for the Panthers, something the team hasn’t had in years after limping through seasons with Legedu Naanee and Louis Murphy.

Jones: 704-358-5323; Twitter: @jjones9
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