Greg Schiano's Buccaneers came into the contest on a three-game winning streak after an awful start to the season, but a Cam Newton-inspired display from their NFC South rivals allowed the Panthers continue their playoff charge.
Newton threw for over 260 yards and two touchdown passes in the win, as well as rushing for just shy of 70 yards. He also found the endzone himself late in the second quarter.
The Buccaneers opened the scoring early in the first period thanks to a 27-yard field goal from Ryan Lindell, but from their responding drive, the Panthers took a lead that they never let slip.
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With his options covered, Newton took off for the first time, scrambling to his left and getting open, rushing for 56 yards until he was hauled down at the Tampa Bay 14.
Just two plays later, the Panthers had the advantage when Newton found Brandon LaFell at the back of the endzone, with the receiver doing well to keep his feet in bounds and complete the score.
The Buccaneers threatened to respond straight away with Vincent Jackson picking up a 60-yard gain down the sideline, but as Mike Glennon pressed on third and goal, the ball slipped out of his grasp and William Gholston recovered the ball.
From the resulting series, Newton failed to lead his side on a touchdown drive, although Graham Gano was able to add three with a 23 yard kick.
As the half wound down, the Panthers were back in the red zone, and gambled on fourth and one at the Buccaneers one.
Newton kept hold of the ball and went over the top, and although the ball was knocked from his hands, he was in for the score before he could be stopped.
After the break, the Panthers were rarely troubled by Glennon and the Buccaneers' offense, with the quarterback's hesitation in the pocket resulting in five sacks and one interception thrown over the course of the game.
Another Gano field goal and a touchdown from Ted Ginn allowed the Panthers to wrap up the victory and move on to 9-3 for the season.