If you think Ted Ginn Jr. is only good for running deep routes, you didn’t see Sunday’s game.
Ginn scored two touchdowns – the first time in his career he has had more than one receiving TD – and he got both of them on short routesm, of 12 and 6 yards.
The Panthers’ PR staff used that fact as an impetus for a fairly remarkable note: In 20 career regular-season games with Carolina (in 2013 and 2015), Ginn has eight touchdown catches. In 104 career games with the other teams he has played for, Ginn has six touchdown catches.
Quarterback Cam Newton has shown an affection for Ginn from the beginning and said again Sunday that Ginn’s reputation as a return specialist was misplaced.
“Ted is really evolving into that player he’s capable of becoming,” Newton said.
“This team knows what I can do,” Ginn said. “It recognizes my speed and my talent.”
Ginn’s best catch was the first touchdown, when he barely dragged his back foot onto the playing surface in the front corner of the end zone. (It was originally ruled incomplete, but coach Ron Rivera challenged successfully).
Given that Tampa Bay was trying hard to take away tight end Greg Olsen – and with Kelvin Benjamin out for the season – the Panthers needed another receiver to step up near the goal line. Ginn provided in a big way.
Carolina’s other starting wide receiver did not fare as well. After being held without a catch in Week 3, Philly Brown had only one catch for 3 yards in Week 4 (he was targeted three times).
▪ It was a quiet debut for new Panthers defensive end Jared Allen, who rarely got near the quarterback and was overshadowed by rookie Ryan Delaire and his two sacks. But Allen seemed happy after the game and particularly enamored with cornerback Josh Norman. “That dude is special, I’m telling you,” Allen said.
▪ You can bet Tampa Bay kicker Kyle Brindza won’t have a job this week, as he missed two field goals (from 29 and 43 yards) and an extra point after missing four kicks (three field goals and an extra point) the week before.
Bucs coach Lovie Smith was kind enough not to fire Brindza immediately, however. When asked about Brindza’s future, Smith said: “We’re not going to start kicking people off in the press conference after the game.”
▪ With Arizona’s loss Sunday, there are only three undefeated teams left in the NFC – Green Bay, Atlanta and Carolina. All are 4-0.
▪ Tampa Bay fans didn’t fill their stadium, as usual, but it’s difficult to blame them. It rained hard for for much of the game and, more significantly, the Bucs have now lost 11 straight times at home.