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Bucs use goal-line stand to beat Panthers 20-14

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By STEVE REED
AP Sports Writer

Players: Graham Gano, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, Peyton Barber, Curtis Samuel, Christian McCaffrey, Chris Godwin, Joey Slye, Ray-Ray McCloud

Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon III Hargreaves (28) tackles Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey late in the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. Tampa Bay won 20-14. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)


Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) walks off the field following the Panthers 20-14 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon III Hargreaves (28) tackles Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey late in the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. Tampa Bay won 20-14. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber (25) is upended by Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Kevin Minter, top, and tight end Antony Auclair (82) tackle Carolina Panthers wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud (14) during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)


Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) hands off to running back Christian McCaffrey (22) during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)


Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore (12) is tackled by Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis (33) during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)


Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) runs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) When Cam Newton left the shotgun and began creeping toward the line of scrimmage, Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves knew exactly what was coming.

The Bucs sniffed out a fourth-and-1 play from the 2-yard line with Hargreaves shoving Christian McCaffrey out of bounds with 1:22 left to preserve a 20-14 win over the Carolina Panthers and cap off a terrific defensive performance on Thursday night.

Jameis Winston threw for 208 yards and a touchdown, Chris Godwin had 121 yards receiving and a score and Peyton Barber ran for 82 yards, but it was the Bucs defense that won this game. Tampa Bay held the Panthers without a touchdown and limited McCaffrey to 53 total yards to give coach Bruce Arians his first victory with the team.

The goal-line stand, particularly the fourth down play, was just the icing on the cake.

As Newton cleared out of the way, McCaffrey took the direct snap from center, faked a reverse to Curtis Samuel and raced around left end but couldn't find the edge. He tried to extend the ball, but didn't pick up the first down as Hargreaves rode him out of bounds.

''You watch any football and you've seen it a few times,'' Hargreaves said of the play. ''Once I saw Cam walk up to the line of scrimmage and act like he was talking to me I had a pretty good idea what was going on.''

It would be hard to imagine the Panthers taking the ball out of their 6-foot-5, 245-pound quarterback's hands in the past. Even Hargreaves said a few years ago, Newton ''definitely, 100 percent'' would have tried to run and score.

But this is a different time for the ninth-year quarterback. Although he has more TDs rushing than any other QB in the league, he has just minus-2 yards on five carries this season with two fumbles .

''He can't take them hits like that,'' Hargreaves said. ''It's going to eat his body up. So not really. We expected more throwing as he is getting older in his career.''

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said there is nothing wrong with Newton's shoulder or foot that prevented him from running the ball. He believed the Panthers had the right play called.

''Unfortunately, it didn't work,'' Rivera said. ''That's all I can tell. We felt good about the play.''

McCaffrey said it was his job to get into the end zone - or at least pick up the first down - and he failed.

''The ball is in my hands and I have to make that play,'' McCaffrey said. ''I have to get better.''

Actually the entire Panthers offense needs to get better, Newton said.

''It's hard to look defensive guys in the eyes after a game like this because we didn't uphold our end of the bargain,'' Newton said. ''All fingers are pointed back to the offense and me specifically.''

Newton finished with 324 yards passing , but was held without a touchdown for the second straight week.

The Buccaneers (1-1) got plenty of pressure on Newton with three sacks coming from Shaquil Barrett. The Panthers failed to reach the end zone, only scoring on Joey Slye's four field goals and a safety by Luke Kuechly . They are 0-2 for the first time since the 2013 season.

Newton said it's embarrassing being booed off the field on some third downs. He said you can't blame the fans and ''they deserve better.''

WINSTON AVOIDS TURNOVERS

After throwing two pick 6's last week, Winston played a turnover-free game.

And with the defense playing well, that was good enough.

''I thought he was outstanding,'' Arians said. ''He had a hell of a week as far as mentally preparing and getting ready for this ball game. I think that's the type of game he can play.''

NEWTON THROWS DEEP

After fielding plenty of questions about attempting only one pass of more than 20 yards downfield in the season opener against the Rams, Newton connected on a 44-yard strike to Curtis Samuel late in the first quarter. It was one of handful of deep balls the quarterback threw.

JEERS TO CHEERS

After fumbling his first two punt return attempts, Ray-Ray McCloud was greeted with sarcastically cheers as he fielded his third punt cleanly. But the jeers quickly turned to cheers when McCloud raced up the middle of the field for a 39-yard return.

SLYE GUY

Undrafted rookie Joey Slye made all four field goals, including a 54-yarder. He's 6 of 7 on the season in place of the injured Graham Gano.

INJURIES

Buccaneers: Linebacker Devin White left the game in the first quarter with a knee injury and cornerback Jamel Dean suffered a lower leg injury in the third. Neither player returned to the game. Kevin Minter, who replaced White, was given the game ball after finishing with eight tackles.

Panthers: None reported.

UP NEXT

Buccaneers: Host New York Giants on Sept. 22.

Panthers: At Arizona on Sept. 22.

Player Notes
Adam Thielen Oct 21 1:30pm ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) is unlikely to suit up for Thursday Night Football against the Washington Redskins in Week 8. The 29-year-old seems to think he is capable of playing, but the Vikings will likely rest their ailing star against a mediocre opponent on a short week. In his absence, rookie Olabisi Johnson will likely serve as the WR2. Johnson, who had 40 yards and a touchdown in Week 7, is a viable streaming option for fantasy managers that are desperate for a receiver in Week 8.

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Will Fuller Oct 21 1:20pm ET

Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller is expected to miss several weeks with a significant hamstring strain, per Ian Rapoport. Fuller suffered the injury against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7. With Fuller sidelined, Kenny Stills becomes a must-add asset in almost all formats. The 27-year-old produced 105 yards on four catches against the Colts after Fuller exited the game. Stills can be considered a mid-tier WR3 against the Oakland Raiders in Week 8.

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Bradley McDougald Oct 21 1:13pm ET

Seattle Seahawks S Bradley McDougald (back) sat out of practice all week after suffering from back spasms and was unable to play in Week 7 against the Baltimore Ravens, but head coach Pete Carroll told reporters during his postgame press conference that he believes McDougald will be able to make it back for Week 8 versus the Atlanta Falcons.

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Keenan Allen Oct 21 1:10pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen only hauled in 4-of-11 targets for 61 yards during a 23-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. Despite having a positive pass-catching game script, Allen and Philip Rivers failed to connect on several deep balls. Luckily, due to the Chargers' uninspiring defensive unit, the game script is almost always positive for the passing attack. Allen remains a mid-tier WR1 against the Chicago Bears in Week 8.

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Eli Apple Oct 21 1:03pm ET

Updating a previous report, New Orleans Saints CB Eli Apple (knee) likely suffered a hyperextended knee late in the team's Week 7 game versus the Chicago Bears, although more tests are scheduled to determine the extent of his injury Monday, Oct. 21.

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Will Fuller Oct 21 12:53pm ET

Updating previous reports, Houston Texans WR Will Fuller (hamstring) is expected to miss 'several weeks' after suffering 'a rather significant hamstring pull,' according to a source via NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Fantasy Spin: Fuller hasn't come close to playing a full season in four years in the NFL, so fantasy owners can't exactly be shocked by this development. While the Texans will miss his ability to stretch the field, Fuller's lack of durability was probably one of the biggest reasons Houston made sure to land Kenny Stills in the Laremy Tunsil trade this summer. Stills should be able to fill in nicely and serve as a high-upside WR3 for however long Fuller is sidelined.

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Montae Nicholson Oct 21 12:43pm ET

Updating a previous report, Washington Redskins S Montae Nicholson (ankle) was seen walking around in a boot Monday, Oct. 21, after injuring his right ankle in Week 7 against the San Francisco 49ers.

From TheHuddle

Kayvon Webster Oct 21 12:43pm ET

Free-agent CB Kayvon Webster (Saints) worked out for the New Orleans Saints on Monday, Oct. 21.

From TheHuddle

Hunter Henry Oct 21 12:40pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry caught six passes for 97 yards during a 23-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. The 24-year-old has seen 17 targets over his past two games. Now fully healthy, Henry is unquestionably a top-tier tight end for the remainder of the season. He has a tougher matchup against the Chicago Bears in Week 8, but he is still an undisputed TE1 for the contest.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Eifert Oct 21 12:40pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert pulled in just two receptions for 10 yards against Jacksonville in Week 7. The veteran has been a huge fantasy disappointment this season, and with rumblings of a trade before the deadline, Eifert's days in Cincy may be over soon. He has the potential to produce, and if you're able, he is worth a stash in deeper formats, at least for now.

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Kareem Hunt Oct 21 12:33pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Hunt has been sidelined all season recovering from sports hernia surgery and serving an eight-game suspension for domestic abuse for an incident that occurred during his time with the Kansas City Chiefs. The former rushing champion is not eligible to return to game action until Week 10, so Nick Chubb will serve as a team's featured back for at least two more weeks. It's expected Hunt will serve as the change-of-pace back when he returns.

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Austin Ekeler Oct 21 12:30pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler only produced seven rushing yards on five carries in Week 7, but he salvaged the day by catching seven passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. Melvin Gordon had 16 carries in the contest despite being outplayed by Ekeler, but the Chargers continue to let Gordon dominate the ground game. Nevertheless, Ekeler's ability as a receiver continues to give him value as a fantasy asset. He is an above-average flex option against the dominant Chicago Bears' defense in Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Auden Tate Oct 21 12:30pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Auden Tate finished with three catches (six targets) for 65 yards against Jacksonville in Week 7. After getting 11 looks from quarterback Andy Dalton against the Ravens in Week 6, Tate's production was yielded by Alex Erickson, who hauled in eight receptions for 137 yards on the day. With A.J. Green (ankle) expected to return soon, Tate will likely be relegated to backing up Green and Tyler Boyd moving forward. Keep an eye on Green's status for Week 8 and plan accordingly.

From RotoBaller

Adam Thielen Oct 21 12:23pm ET

Updating previous reports, Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday, Oct. 21, but he faces the 'real possibility' of not playing in Week 8 against the Washington Redskins.

Fantasy Spin: While everyone around the team believes the injury is not serious, the Vikings play on Thursday, making it an almost impossible turnaround for Thielen. In theory, Minnesota should not need him against the Redskins, but the Vikings' passing attack is not so deep and talented that it can just assume it will thrive without Kirk Cousins' favorite receiver. If Thielen sits, it will be the first game he's missed in his NFL career. Fantasy owners should feel free to bump up Stefon Diggs in their weekly rankings as well.

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Melvin Gordon Oct 21 12:20pm ET

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Tyler Boyd Oct 21 12:20pm ET

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Spencer Ware Oct 21 12:03pm ET

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Eli Rogers Oct 21 12:03pm ET

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Jay Ajayi Oct 21 11:53am ET

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Fantasy Spin: Ajayi has been training and preparing to sign with a team for a few weeks. He's definitely worth stashing in deeper leagues and would be a flex option in the right situation.

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