Bucs win debut under Schiano, 16-10 over Panthers
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay's rejuvenated defense had all the answers for Cam Newton.
Ronde Barber celebrated his 200th consecutive start with an interception, sack and key stop near the goal line on the Carolina star, helping the Buccaneers open the season with a 16-10 victory over the Panthers on Sunday.
Newton paced a pair of lopsided victories over the Bucs last December, throwing for four touchdowns and running for four more in the two games. A defense eager to redeem itself gave the former Heisman Trophy winner fits this time.
"This ain't last year," cornerback Aqib Talib said. "We've got a ton of new players, new coach, new staff. A new attitude. It ain't last year, so we really didn't worry about last year."
Josh Freeman tossed a 6-yard TD pass to Mike Williams and Connor Barth kicked three field goals for the Bucs, who won in their first game under coach Greg Schiano.
Newton threw for 303 yards and one touchdown. But his second-half mistakes undermined the Panthers' chances of ruining what the Bucs had promoted as "Ronde Barber Day" as well as the debut of Schiano, who inherited a team that lost the final 10 games of last season under Raheem Morris.
"You can't win with turnovers," Newton said. "Without any of those interceptions, I think we find a way to win this football game."
Barber is lone holdover from Tampa Bay's Super Bowl-winning team of 10 years ago.
Schiano brought the 37-year-old back for his 16th season in hopes Barber can continue to play at a high level and have a positive influence on young defensive players such as Talib and rookies Mark Barron and Lavonte David.
"This was fun to watch this defense go out and play the way they played," the twin of former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber said.
"I don't think anybody really knew what we were going to get. We had one real good showing in the preseason against New England. I don't think I even knew how it would translate to Sundays," Barber added. "Today, the way we played is something to be proud of. My individual performance was just a reflection of the way the defense played as a whole."
Newton completed 23 of 33 passes, but Carolina's running game was nonexistent. The versatile Newton was limited to 4 yards on five carries, DeAngelo Williams gained minus-1 on six attempts and the Panthers finished with just 10 yards rushing as a team.
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