Panthers coach Ron Rivera said his team wasn’t ready to play in the first half. And while he shouldered the blame for that as head coach, the players knew they were at fault as well.
Said fullback Mike Tolbert: “I think we came in a little relaxed – coming down to Miami, enjoying the weather, staying on the beach. ... We overestimated ourselves. We had to get a reality check. And the first half was that.”
That can’t happen next Sunday when Carolina plays Tampa Bay at home. While Tampa Bay is only 3-8, the Buccaneers have won three games in a row after starting 0-8 and nearly beat Seattle on the road (which is almost impossible to do) right before this streak began.
The Buccaneers forced five Detroit turnovers on the road Sunday in their latest win, and former N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon had another fine performance. If the Panthers come out as flat against Tampa Bay as they did against Miami, they likely won’t get away with this a second time.