Just like that, the stench of their 10-game losing streak is gone and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have given their fans something to look forward to after their impressive 16-10 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Buccaneers101.com likes what it saw on the field during the Bucs' opening day victory and wants to recognize the top playmakers from the contest.
Offensive MVP: RB Doug Martin
All he did in his first NFL game was constantly churn out positive plays, rush for nearly 100 yards, and show everyone why the Bucs traded back into the first round to select him. Martin was very impressive against the Panthers. He rushed for 95 yards on 24 carries and moved the chains all day long for the Bucs. Martin also displayed some impressive hands with a beautiful catch while falling backwards with linebacker Luke Kuechly all over him. He finished with four receptions for 23 yards. Martin definitely appears to be the every down back that they expect him to be.
Honorable Mention: QB Josh Freeman
Freeman started off great, going 7-of-7 on his opening drive and capping things off with a 6-yard TD pass to Mike Williams. He slowed down after that and finished 16-of-24 for just 138 yards, but the most impressive thing was that he protected the football and had zero turnovers.
Defensive MVP: S Ronde Barber
The organization celebrated his 200th consecutive start during this game and he didn't disappoint with his performance. The 37-year-old Barber was flying all over the place and was around the ball more than the Panthers would have liked. He recorded his 28th career sack in the first half when he chased Cam Newton out of bounds on a scramble. In the third quarter, Barber intercepted his 44th career pass after he picked off a ball that was tipped by corner Aqib Talib. To go along with his splash plays, Barber also had five tackles. It was another great performance by Barber as he continues to add to his Hall of Fame resume.
Honorable Mention: DT Gerald McCoy
The former No. 3 overall pick started the season off on a high note with a dominating performance against the Panthers. He was disruptive all afternoon and seemed to live in the backfield. McCoy got his first sack of the season when he wrapped up Newton for an 8-yard loss in the fourth quarter.
Special Teams MVP: K Connor Barth
As usual, Barth was clutch and delivered everytime the Bucs needed him to. He made all three of his FG attempts and was the team's leading scorer on Sunday. Barth's current streak of 19 made field goals is the longest streak in Buccaneers' history.
Honorable Mention: CB Aqib Talib
With the Panthers still in striking distance and the Bucs offense struggling, Talib came around the corner untouched and blocked a Brad Medlock punt in the fourth quarter to give the Bucs possession at the Panthers' 42-yard line. The Bucs would go on to add another field goal and win the game.
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