TAMPA, Fla. – Sunday's 16-10 loss was a frustrating start to the season for quarterback Cam Newton.
"No one likes losing," Newton said.
The Panthers quarterback doesn't like throwing interceptions either, but two of his passes ended up in the hands of a Buccaneer.
In his young career, the Panthers have lost every game (11) in which Newton turns the ball over. When he doesn't commit a turnover, Carolina is 6-0.
"I have to a better job making myself accountable," Newton said.
The first interception came with the Panthers trailing 13-7 in the third quarter. A pass intended for wide receiver Brandon LaFell was tipped high into the air and reeled in by Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber.
"The first one, that's just the nature of the game," Newton admitted.
Panthers center Ryan Kalil came to Newton's defense.
"I think it was a clear pass interference," he said.
The second interception really aggravated Newton.
This one occurred on the Panthers' very next possession with the team still trailing 13-7.
Newton lofted a ball deep down the left sideline for wide receiver Steve Smith, and safety Ahmad Black stepped in front of the pass.
"The second (interception) was more disgusting," Newton said. "I hung the football up there. They were in man-to-man with a safety over the top. The safety was reading my eyes, so it's bound to happen."
Head coach Ron Rivera: "He did make some mistakes, and at times, it was unlike Cam, but he handled certain situations. He got us down the field, we scored the touchdown and he made a great decision on that."
Newton, who finished 23-of-33 for 303 yards, remained poised in the face of a blitz and was able freeze the defense with a pump fake before locating wideout Brandon LaFell over the middle for a 22-yard touchdown.
"They were brining pressure and they covered his primary (read), and he was able to pump and come back to LaFell for the touchdown," Rivera explained. "He did make some mistakes, but he did some really good things too."
Like his jaw-dropping 51-yard completion to Louis Murphy down the right sideline to set up a late field goal. The high-arcing pass hit Murphy, who had outrun two defenders, right in stride before he met the sideline.
"A great ball, man," said Murphy.
But it was the two intercepted passes that consumed Newton's attention after the game.
Two throws the quarterback wished he could have back.
"Without those interceptions," Newton said, "I think we find a way to win this football game."