For the third time in the past three seasons, the Buccaneers will face a Panthers team not quarterbacked by Cam Newton. The Panthers ruled out the reigning league MVP for Monday night’s contest after he suffered a concussion during the second half against the Falcons, David Newton of ESPN.com reports.
Both of the Carolina-Tampa Bay tilts in 2014 featured Derek Anderson at quarterback instead of Newton, and the defending NFC champions will use that arrangement Monday night. The Panthers won both games behind Anderson, but they came against a Bucs team that ended up going 2-14 to be in position to draft current starter Jameis Winston.
A hit from Falcons middle linebacker Deion Jones on a Newton two-point conversion run in the fourth quarter caused the head injury. Anderson then completed 17-of-23 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. The 33-year-old backup is a 54 percent passer for his career, although he did complete 67 percent of his throws in 2014 in relief of Newton.
Newton, of course, has been at the center of the NFL’s concussion controversy this season. The helmet-to-helmet hits he absorbed in Week 1 didn’t result in a concussion, per Panthers doctors, but brought more scrutiny on the league’s protocol.
The Panthers travel to face the Saints in Week 6 and have their bye in Week 7.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.