The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers traded blows all game long. A 14-7 Charger lead at the end of the first quarter turned into a 21-17 lead at the half. The Buccaneers took the third quarter, coming out up by three. The largest lead of the game at any point was 10. But when the game was on the line, it was the Buccaneers that stepped up their game and walked out of Raymond James Stadium with the W.
For the Buccaneers, QB Josh Freeman had a solid showing, completing 14 of his 20 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns. His touchdown passes went to TE Dallas Clark and WR Tiquan Underwood. WR Mike Williams finished with 64 yards on two catches, while WR Vincent Jackson caught five passes for 59 yards.
RB Doug Martin broke 100 total yards in the game once again, for another impressive showing on the heels of his two 200+ yard games in the last two weeks. Martin had 19 rushes for 68 yards and three catches for 51 yards.
On special teams, Connor Barth hit two field goals from 40 or more yards out and the Buccaneers scored their first special teams touchdown since 2009 on a Dekoda Watson blocked punt. The ball was picked up by LB and captain Adam Hayward and ran back 29 yards for a touchdown.
LB Lavonte David finished as the game’s leading tackler with 13, all solo tackles. The Buccaneers also registered one sack each from DE Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and LB Mason Foster. The team added eight tackles for loss to their league-leading total.
The fourth quarter was highlighted by two Philip Rivers interceptions. The first, early in the fourth quarter, came when the Chargers were in field goal position and in range to tie the game. On the third down pass, CB Leonard Johnson cut off the pass and took off down field, escaping multiple tackles on his way to the end zone for a defensive score. Two possessions later, it was CB LeQuan Lewis who came down with the interception on a long pass down field. The play gave the Buccaneers the ball back with just over three minutes in the game, enough to essentially seal the victory.
The San Diego Chargers got off to a hot start in this game, but only managed three second half points as the Buccaneer defense buckled down. QB Philip Rivers ended this first half with 218 passing yards and three touchdowns. In the second half, he added 119 yards and two interceptions to his total, finishing the game with 337 yards, completing 29 of 37 passes.
The Chargers’ three leading receivers were also the three to haul in touchdown passes. The day started on an 80-yarder to TE Danario Alexander. He added four more catches throughout the day to finish with 134 receiving yards. Fellow TE Antonio Gates had four receptions for 57 yards and a score while WR Malcom Floyd had six grabs for 63 yards and a score. RB Ryan Mathews led the team in rushing with 54 yards on 17 carries. The biggest running play came on a third-and-one conversion by RB Jackie Battle who rumbled for 21 yards.
Josh Freeman ended another game clean of interceptions. In the past five games he has 15 touchdowns to just one pick. DE Corey Liuget led the Chargers in tackles with six, while LB Donald Butler wrangled Freeman for San Diego’s lone sack.
The Bucs have won four of their last five games and have improved their record to 5-4. In those four wins, the Bucs have averaged 37.5 points. The Buccaneers will head to Carolina next week to close out their series with the 2-7 Panthers. In Week One, the Buccaneers defeated the Panthers at home, 16-10. The next Buccaneer’s home contest will be in Week 12 against the Atlanta Falcons.