Bucs7337 -- 20Panthers0037 -- 10 Carnell "Cadillac" Williams took Tampa Bay on a smooth ride into a tie for the NFC South lead.
Williams ran for 112 yards and two scores to lead the Bucs to a victory over Carolina that pulled Tampa Bay into a tie with the Panthers for the division lead with three games left.
Both Tampa Bay (9-4) and Carolina (9-4) have NFC South rivals Atlanta and New Orleans remaining on their schedules, and the Falcons (7-5) are 11/2 games out of the lead heading into Monday night's game against the Saints.
The Bucs have both Williams and a stingy defense that held Carolina to 276 yards to thank for snapping a five-game losing streak against the Panthers.
"We talk about outplaying our opponents' defense every week and the past five times we played these guys we definitely haven't done that," said Ronde Barber, who became the first cornerback to notch 20 sacks and 20 interceptions in his career with one of each against Carolina.
"Without a doubt, we can say we did that this time."
Tampa Bay: C.Williams 14 run (Bryant kick), 4:04.
Tampa Bay: FG Bryant 34, :00.
Tampa Bay: FG Bryant 36, 4:29.
Carolina: FG Kasay 39, 1:20.
Tampa Bay: C.Williams 10 run (Bryant kick), 5:39.
Carolina: Proehl 10 pass from Delhomme (Kasay kick), :23.
BucsPanthersFirst Downs 1714Total Net Yards 247276Rushes-Yards 36-11420-82Passing 133194Punt Returns 3-494-63Kickoff Returns 3-324-78Interceptions Ret. 1-350-0Comp-Att-Int 20-27-021-33-1Sacked-Yards Lost 1-502-26Punts 6-43.24-45.3Fumbles-Lost 0-01-0Penalties-Yards 7-505-35Time Of Possession 32:0427:56RUSHING
Tampa Bay: C.Williams 29-112, Alstott 4-2, Pittman 2-1, Simms 1-(minus 1).
Carolina: Foster 14-46, Davis 4-23, Goings 1-7, Delhomme 1-6.
Tampa Bay: Simms 20-27-0-138.
Tampa Bay: Hilliard 5-32, Galloway 4-39, Pittman 3-20, A.Smith 3-11, Alstott 2-20, C.Williams 2-4, Clayton 1-12.
Carolina: S.Smith 5-103, Mangum 4-30, Goings 4-26, Proehl 3-36, Colbert 2-20, Foster 2-2, Hoover 1-3.
MISSED FIELD GOALS
Carolina: Kasay 42 (WL).