The rookie best known for punching an opposing player after a game when he was in college at Oregon, carried five times for 73 yards on an 87-yard scoring drive that Tampa Bay covered entirely on the ground. He broke runs of 12, 24 and 17 yards before finishing with another 17-yarder that put the Bucs up 14-3 early in the second quarter.
"We came out fast, executed our game plan and did everything we planned," Blount said. "The defense came out and played well also."
Although Goodson had some success running the ball for Carolina, Clausen rarely looked to throw downfield and put pressure on the Bucs with the passing game.
The rookie's longest completion was 18 yards until he completed a 24-yarder up the sideline to Steve Smith to set up the first of two field goals Kasay kicked in the third quarter to trim Tampa Bay's lead to 21-16.
Freeman reduced the suspense, leading a fourth-quarter field goal drive that Connor Barth finished with a 32-yarder that made it 24-16 with 10 minutes remaining.
Clausen was 16 of 29 passing for 191 yards and no interceptions. He was sacked twice.
"When you're in a close game like that, field goals are not going to win a game for you," Clausen said. "When you get down to the red zone, you need to put seven points on the board."
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