Originally created 09/15/03

Panthers top Bucs in OT



TAMPA, Fla. -- John Kasay's fourth field goal, a 47-yarder with 3:28 remaining in overtime, capped a wild final few minutes as the Carolina Panthers beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at their own game Sunday, 12-9.

The Buccaneers had tied it with no time left in regulation on Keenan McCardell's 6-yard touchdown reception. But Kris Jenkins got a hand on what would have been a game-winning extra point by Martin Gramatica.

Steve Smith's 52-yard punt return to the Tampa Bay 40 set up Kasay's game-winner.

Stephen Davis rushed for 142 yards and Kasay also kicked field goals of 28, 35 and 20 yards for Carolina (2-0), which blocked two field goals before sending it into overtime.

Six days after opening the season with a dominating 17-0 victory over Philadelphia in a rematch of last year's NFC championship game, the Bucs (1-1) looked flat and self-destructed with frequent mistakes, including 17 penalties for 168 yards.

Trailing 9-3, the Bucs drove 82 yards in 10 plays to tie it on Brad Johnson's 6-yard TD pass to McCardell, who got both feet in bounds before falling out of the end zone.

The jubilation on the Tampa Bay sideline was short-lived. Jenkins pushed through the middle of the Bucs line to knock down Gramatica's conversion attempt to silence a sellout crowd of 65,621.

The Panthers, who overcame a 17-point second-half deficit to beat Jacksonville in their season opener, scored on their second possession in overtime. After Smith's punt return up the right sideline gave his team excellent field position, Davis ran for 10 yards to the Tampa Bay 30 on first down.

Four plays later, Kasay kicked his game-winner.

Jake Delhomme, who came off the bench to lead Carolina's comeback against the Jaguars, completed 9 of 23 passes for 96 yards in his third pro start. He was sacked twice and threw two interceptions, including Brian Kelly's pick that set up Gramatica's 41-yarder late in the third quarter.

Tampa Bay opened with a dominating performance against Philadelphia and began the day with a chance to become the first team in more than 25 years to shut out three consecutive regular season opponents.

Kasay's first field goal ended a stretch of 11 straight scoreless quarters for the Bucs' defense, a streak that began in the second quarter of a 17-7 loss to Pittsburgh on Dec. 23. Al Wallace returned an interception 53 yards to set up another field goal for a 6-0 halftime lead.

The Bucs had outgained the Panthers 190-107 up to that point. But the defending champions hurt themselves with five costly penalties.

The sloppy play continued in the second half with Tampa Bay being penalized seven times for 70 yards in the third quarter. Carolina declined one personal foul and two other flags against the Bucs didn't count because they had multiple infractions on the plays.

Johnson completed 34 of a career-high 61 passes for 339 yards. He was sacked once and threw one interception. Keyshawn Johnson led the Bucs with nine receptions for 102 yards, but was unable to make a leaping catch in the middle of the end zone with 19 seconds left in regulation.

Johnson found McCardell for the game-tying TD two plays later.