CHARLOTTE, N.C. (The Charlotte Observer) - Midway through the first quarter of the Panthers’ Thursday night game versus Tampa Bay, lightning and severe rain in the area resulted in a weather delay. The delay lasted about 27 minutes altogether.
A rain cell dropped onto Bank of America Stadium shortly before kickoff at 8:20 p.m. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers opted to receive the ball, but after a 22-yard gain on their first play from scrimmage, were forced into a quick punt. The Panthers took over at their own 10-yard line after returner Ray-Ray McCloud muffed and then recovered the punt.
Carolina kept driving to midfield, where the offense faced a 4th-and-1. Quarterback Cam Newton kept the ball and dove for the first-down marker, but was ruled short.
As the Panthers went to challenge the play, at about 8:39 p.m., the rain began falling even harder and lightning was reported in the area. Fans were promptly asked to evacuate their seats for the safety of the concourse, and both teams returned to their locker rooms.
The Panthers’ challenge ultimately was unsuccessful, setting up a Tampa first-down from their own 47-yard line when play resumed.
Players returned to the field at about 9:00 p.m., but went through pregame warmups again to avoid injury.
Play resumed at 9:07 p.m.