The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in its first year without Tom Brady at quarterback, have won the NFC South for the third straight season after defeating the Carolina Panthers, 9-0. 

Much like their entire season with Brady’s replacement, Baker Mayfield, at the helm, it wasn’t the prettiest of victories with no touchdowns scored for either team. 

But a win is a win, and the Buccaneers are the No. 4 seed in the NFC as playoffs begin next week. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers’ win means the Atlanta Falcons, no matter the results against the New Orleans Saints, are out of the playoffs. 


As mentioned, no one was able to find the colored paint with both defenses playing a solid game. The Panthers, owning the worst record in the league, didn’t have any incentive to play for other than pride and a high note heading into 2024. 

Yet, the Buccaneers held their own fate in their hands, while the Panthers looked to potentially play spoiler. 

We didn’t see points on the scoreboard for the Bucs until 4:13 left in the second quarter, as the game began with seven punts in the first eight drives with a fumble by Carolina in the middle of them. 


That fumble was actually a touchback recovered by the Buccaneers in the end zone after Panthers receiver D.J. Chark Jr. tried to reach past the goal line, but couldn’t hang on to the ball. 

The Buccaneers did have some chances, though, with Mayfield just missing his favorite receiver, Mike Evans, on a deep ball that was slightly underthrown for a pass breakup. The half would instead end 6-0 in favor of the road team.

The Panthers threatened the Bucs in the second half, however, when rookie quarterback Bryce Young had good field position near midfield. But Carolina wasn’t able to do anything with it, as a 52-yard field goal was missed. 

Tampa Bay would kick yet another field goal after being awarded their own solid field position. Then, a strip sack on Young by Joe Tryon-Shoyinka was recovered by the Bucs to once again flip the field. 

Mayfield and the Bucs’ offense killed the remaining 6:19 of clock in the fourth quarter, with sweet victory kneels coming to win the division. 

Mayfield finished the game 20-of-32 for 137 yards, with Chris Godwin his top target with 51 yards on six catches. Rachaad White battled some bumps and bruises throughout the game, as he had 75 yards on 19 carries. 

Young finished his rookie season with just 94 yards through the air on 11-of-18, while Chubba Hubbard finished with 83 rushing yards on 23 carries. 

With Carolina looking to quickly forget going 2-15 this season (and not owning the top pick because it was traded to draft Young this past April), the Buccaneers will await the final seeding in the NFC to see who the No. 5 seed will be. 

It’s expected to be the Philadelphia Eagles, as the Dallas Cowboys could clinch the No. 2 seed and the NFC East title with a victory over the Washington Commanders later Sunday. If so, the Bucs and Eagles would be pitted against each other in Super Wild Card Weekend.