CHARLOTTE -- In eight NFL seasons, defensive end Mario Addison has made a living in the trenches, and against the Buccaneers' vaunted pass attack, his ability to rearrange offensive linemen like furniture would again be important to the defense's performance.
One look at the stat sheet shows that Addison was able to get the job done, as a career-high three sacks in a 42-28 victory over Tampa Bay moved him to fourth all-time in franchise history. His three quarterback hits also contributed to the team's 11 on the afternoon.
It was a triumphant day for Addison, but, as he would be the first to tell you, his stops were more about team success than anything else.
"I didn't do it by myself. Two of the sacks came from other guys," Addison said. "I'm glad those guys did their things, did their jobs, and not only did I come out victorious, everybody came out victorious so I feel good."
The moments Addison referred to came early in the second quarter when he exploded for two sacks in three plays, leading to a Bucs three-and-out.
Defensive tackle Dontari Poe and safety Eric Reid blitzed on separate plays, and, while neither were able to finish off Tampa Bay quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the pressure they created paved the way for Addison.
"I should have had it, but Mario can have it," Reid joked about his near-sack.
Regarding his third stop - a strip-sack on first-and-15 on the Tampa 16 late in the third quarter - Addison wasn't shy in showing his pride.
"I won one-on-one and got it," he said.
Head coach Ron Rivera wasn't shy in showing his pride, either, saying Addison is "explosive off the end and can make an impact" and that "it's good to have a guy like that just making plays for you."
Linebacker Luke Kuechly, who has played with Addison in all seven of his years in Carolina, also hurled compliments Addison's way, making mention of his path from being undrafted in 2011 to quiet stints with the Bears, Colts and Redskins before he became a staple along Carolina's defensive line.
"That's what's cool about this league: You work hard, you bust your tail and you can put yourself in a position to be a really good player, and Mario has done that," Kuechly said. "It's kind of one of those situations where you bring young guys in and you point to Mario as an example of a guy who's done everything the right way and been rewarded for it."
Like Kuechly, linebacker Thomas Davis has been with Addison every step of the way, and was excited to watch him get to the spot against Fitzpatrick and the Bucs.
"He was 'Super Mario.' That's who Rio is," Davis said. "He's been close all season long to having a game like today, and today he capitalized on it. He made it happen."
View game action photos from the Panthers 42-28 win against the Buccaneers.