Tampa Bay Buccaneers
October 4, 2011 by staff
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, We call ugly. Call neglected. Call it whatever you want. Tampa Bay Buccaneers do not care. Close games, meetings, full of penalty proceedings where and when the celebrations end, the Bucs will take them all.
Josh Freeman threw for 287 yards and a touchdown, ran for 127 Blount LeGarrette yards and a touchdown and the Buccaneers beat the Indianapolis Colts without a win 24-17 Monday night.
“It’s supposed to be pretty? Is an orchestra?” cornerback Ronde Barber.
This was music to the ears of Tampa Bay.
Freeman picked up the tough yards, Blount was the work of relief and the defense finished the night with four sacks. Together, they helped the Buccaneers to win his third straight game.
Freeman, who rushed for a touchdown early in the game, scrambled for a huge first down on the winning drive. Two plays later, Blount found a hole, bounced to the outside and ran 35 yards for a touchdown. Her defensive back David Caldwell the last meters before plunging a few for the pylon.
Freeman has not been done the dirty work, though. Need a yard to move the chains, expand the drive and the Colts denied a chance to tie the game, Freeman picked up the first and fourth and a game.
“It really was not enough time, but it’s us,” said Freeman.
The Buccaneers (3-1) kept pace with New Orleans in the NFC South. The Colts fell to 0-4 for the first time since 1998, Peyton Manning’s rookie year. Manning has seen the four losses, he could not play due to a neck injury.
Curtis Painter started this, taking the place of the injured backup Kerry Collins, who is due to a concussion, and played better than most expected.
“It’s always a little easier when you know you’re going to have some playing time,” said the painter. “We had a good start and put some points on the board. But obviously, we must find a way to put more points on the board and move the ball a little better.”
Painter completed 13 of 30 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns, both long to Pierre Garcon. He was not as effective down the stretch, partly because the Colts lost starting offensive linemen Anthony Castonzo and Ben Ijalana to injury. Guard Ryan Diem was inactive.
“It’s one of those things we have to move some things and make some adjustments,” said Colts coach Jim Caldwell. “Not a good situation, but nevertheless, you have to work.”
The Colts went 17-10 after the second score Garcon, but it was Tampa Bay over the final 20 minutes.
“It’s always good to win on a national stage,” said Bucs coach Raheem Morris. “Everyone wants to perform better, but it’s hard to apologize for wins, so we’re excited about all of them. They’re pretty hard to get, so might as well enjoy each and every one does.”
Freeman was 25 of 39 passing, save time in the pocket and also covers the Indy defense area. He put the Bucs in scoring with a drop of 1 yard in the second quarter and tied the game at 10 with a 13-yard pass to Preston Parker at the end of the third.
Blount put them ahead for good with his longest streak of the season. Freeman remained there with his fourth attempt to immerse themselves in the line with 1:10 remaining.
Tampa Bay’s biggest problem – apart from giving up two long touchdown passes – for sanctions. The Bucs were scored 14 times for 106 yards.
“That was an ugly win,” said defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. “Too many penalties on both sides of the ball. We must be better. We must be better, but we got the W.”
The Bucs also thwarted a scoring chance in the final of the first half. Freeman Robert Mathis sacked on third down and the Bucs, no waiting time, had to fight to get the field goal unit row.
They did, and Connor Barth kick was good from 37 yards. But the Bucs with 12 men on the field, so they went to the locker room at the end.
It mattered little to the Colts.
“We showed what this team is. It’s a very tough football team,” said Barber. “We never feel we’re out of anything. … When you have Josh Freeman as his quarterback and the defense is calling and the kids are up and win when they have to, that’s very exciting to be part of.”
Notes: Colts DT Eric Foster injured his right ankle late in the second quarter, was helped off the field and taken to a nearby hospital. He will stay overnight for observation and close season surgery. … Garcon had 149 yards passing in the first three Indy games, but had 146 yards on two touches on Monday. … Painter said he expects an opportunity to start next week, but added it is “out of my hands.”
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