Tampa Bay took sole possession of first in the chaotic AFC South with a 20-7 blowout over rival Carolina, but the trouncing demanded a stiff toll. Starting tailback Carnell "Cadillac" Williams and tackle Luke Petitgout both suffered season-ending injuries. Williams tore his right patellar tendon, Petitgout the ACL in his right knee.
The Buccaneers got their second win in nine games against the Panthers with a creative defense that blanketed Carolina's dangerous receivers, causing backup David Carr to struggle. Tampa's wily veteran quarterback Jeff Garcia made it four games in a row without a pick, throwing for 176 yards and running for a 3-yard score.