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Saturday, Nov 18, 2017
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  • Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs' attendance down sharply for Panthers game

The Bucs' four-game losing streak is making an impact on the team's attendance, as Sunday's home game against the Panthers was the third-lowest in the 20 home games since Jameis Winston took over as starting quarterback in 2015.

The announced attendance was 58,545, but the actual attendance, per the Tampa Sports Authority, was 48,744, the team's lowest since last year's home opener against the Rams, which drew an actual crowd of 44,711. The percentage of actual attendance vs. announced was 83.3 percent, down sharply from 94.6 percent from the last home game, a Thursday night game against the Patriots three weeks earlier. The dropoff in actual attendance between the two games was more than 20 percent.

The Bucs have lost four straight games to fall to 2-5, the team's longest losing streak since the end of 2015, when head coach Lovie Smith was fired. Coming off the Patriots' first game in Tampa in 20 years, a home game against a division opponent that plays in Tampa every year would understandably have a dropoff in attendance -- two years ago, the Panthers drew an actual 48,068 in Tampa against the Bucs, slightly less than Sunday's total.

Halfway through the home schedule, the Bucs rank the same as last year in average announced attendance -- 28th out of 32 teams, averaging 60,894 per game, up slightly from last year, when they averaged 60,624. Tampa Bay is in the middle of a stretch of six road games in eight weeks, returning home to face the Jets on Nov. 12 after a trip to New Orleans this week.

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