TAMPA, Fla. -- Any chances Tampa Bay had of beating the Carolina Panthers were swept away by five turnovers from Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston.
Carolina converted those takeaways into 27 points, cruising to a 4-0 record with a 37-23 win over the Buccaneers on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
Quarterback Cam Newton threw two touchdown passes to wide receiver Ted Ginn, and cornerback Josh Norman intercepted two Winston passes, returning one for a touchdown. Just as the Bucs (1-3) looked to get close before halftime, rookie kicker Kyle Brindza missed two straight field goals before the Panthers pulled away.
For the second straight home game, Winston's first pass attempt was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, this one 46 yards by Norman, who has four INTs and two pick-sixes in a dominant first four games of the season. The Bucs had fumbled the snap on the second play of the game, leading to a Graham Gano field goal, and Carolina had a 10-0 lead just five minutes into the game.
"The plan was to try to give him different looks, and early on it worked out well that way," coach Ron Rivera said. "Josh had a really nice play on a well-disguised coverage. We did some things that we wanted to try to do, and they were successful."
Down 17-10 just before half, the Bucs drove inside the Carolina 15, only to see Brindza miss a 29-yard kick just before halftime. The Bucs forced a fumble on the first play of the second half, but couldn't convert that to points as Brindza missed again, from 43 yards.
The next time the Panthers fumbled, they got points out of it -- running back Jonathan Stewart fumbled, only to see it caught in mid-air by tight end Ed Dickson, who went 57 yards for a touchdown. After another Winston interception, the Panthers made it a 31-10 lead with another Newton-Ginn touchdown.
"We still think we have room to improve and get better as a football team," Rivera said. "We have a long road ahead of us with 12 games still left to play. It's going to be a tough race all the way."
Running back Doug Martin ran the ball well for the Bucs -- 106 yards on 20 carries entering the fourth quarter -- but the Bucs couldn't overcome their own turnovers. Winston was 16 of 26 for 185 yards after three quarters, but his three INTs all led to Panthers touchdowns.
"Can't think of much worse," guard Logan Mankins said of the team's start. "We could have gotten past it, but we continued to turn it over and miss kicks, doing things that really cost you."
Carolina was outgained by 167 yards, but had the easy win by not making mistakes. Newton, who was injured for both Carolina wins against the Bucs last season, was 11 of 22 for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
"We didn't start as fast we normally (do), but NFL, the momentum can shift in one play," Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "I really think that freak play (Dickson's TD) -- he didn't have to break stride, that was really a momentum shift right there."
NOTES: Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers FB Mike Alstott was honored at halftime and inducted into the team's Ring of Honor. ... The Bucs played without several key players, with CB Johnthan Banks, C Evan Smith, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins among the inactives due to injury. ... The Bucs' 11-game home losing streak is its longest since the Bucs' first 13 home games in 1976-77. ... The Carolina Panthers have won five straight games against the Bucs. ... Panthers rookie DE Ryan Delaire, making his NFL debut, had two sacks against the team he spent the preseason with before leaving in final cuts. ... Carolina's Brenton Bersin led the team in catches (four) and yards (54) in a quiet day for the passing game. TE Greg Olsen was held to two catches for 28 yards.