TAMPA, Fla. — No upset was in the cards Sunday for the Carolina Panthers.
Carolina was unable to handle Tampa Bay's offense and fell 41-17 on the road. The Panthers finished the season on a seven-game losing streak and a 5-12 record overall.
Running back Chuba Hubbard (nine carries, 48 yards rushing) gave Carolina life early in the passing game with a two-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Sam Darnold.
Darnold finished 29-42 through the air with 219 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with Robby Anderson in the second half for Carolina's last score.
DJ Moore led Carolina's receiving core with 87 yards on seven catches.
Mayles Hartsfield led the Panthers on defense with 12 total tackles and a sack.
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For Tampa Bay, quarterback Tom Brady completed 29 of 37 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns before taking the last half of the fourth quarter off, finishing with a career-best 5,316 yards passing and a Bucs single-season record 43 TD passes for the defending Super Bowl champions.
Mike Evans caught two of Brady’s TD passes, giving him a club-record 14 scoring receptions this year.
The attention turns now to who will be Carolina's next offensive coordinator. Jeff Nixon has served in the role in the interim after Joe Brady was fired this season.
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The Panthers will also have the sixth overall pick in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft.
A uncertain future also remains for Cam Newton. The quarterback was signed by Carolina this season and started a handful of games before being benched for Darnold.
PREVIOUS STORY: Panthers bench Newton, will start Darnold at QB vs. Saints
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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