LONDON – When an offense is starting a drive on its own 1-yard line, the opposing defense is licking its chops.
“The defense comes out on the field thinking safety, right?” quarterback Kyle Allen said. “Three-and-out, safety or blocked punt.”
The last thing they’re thinking about is surrendering a 99-yard touchdown drive.
But that’s what Carolina pulled off against Tampa Bay in the first quarter this past Sunday. It was only the fourth time ever that the Panthers produced a 99-yard scoring drive.
“Without question very disappointing,” Bucs defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said. “We had them backed up, great situation.”
“That was huge for us,” Allen said. “It all started with that third-down conversion from our own (7-yard line).”
Below you’ll see clips from four critical plays on that drive. All of them involve Allen operating out of the shotgun and benefiting from clean pockets.
On that third-and-4, Allen fired a quick slant to wide receiver DJ Moore for six tough yards. The throw was on the money and Moore made the catch through contact.
That got the ball rolling.
“When you continue to churn out first downs, wears them out,” said Allen, who went 5-for-5 during the series. “It's tough. It goes the other way, you know what I mean?”
On the next play, Allen connected with tight end Greg Olsen for a 16-yard gain. Olsen ran into space cleared out by wide receiver Curtis Samuel and secured the diving reception.
Three plays later, Samuel was on the receiving end. The slot receiver crossed the face of his defender and presented a nice window for Allen to throw to for 21 yards.
Another chunk play on the very next snap. Moore, with a slight push off at the top of his route to create separation, came back to the ball for a 23-yard gain.
That set up first-and-goal from the 10, and running back Christian McCaffrey’s second effort fourth-and-goal completed the 99-yard touchdown drive.
“It was big,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians conceded. “To let them out of there but also let them go down and score was a huge part of the game.”