Josh Freeman apparently feels good in orange. To him, Throwback means throw touchdowns.
Freeman, the Buccaneers’ fourth-year quarterback, is one of a handful of players who have taken particularly well to the team’s Throwback Game uniforms over the past three seasons. Unfortunately for him, the one game he has missed due to injury since he took over the starting job in 2009 – in the first Throwback Game, coincidentally – was last year’s return of the orange. Thus, Freeman has got to put on the white pirate helmet only twice, but in those two games he has thrown for 386 yards and four touchdowns against just one interception.
Freeman’s good work has helped Tampa Bay’s offense fare well when it puts on the orange jerseys, especially on the scoreboard. In the three previous Throwback Games, the Bucs have averaged 296 yards, 17 first downs and 27 points per outing. Those yardage and first-down marks are pretty close to the team’s overall averages during those three years, but the points are a big improvement. In the other 45 games the Bucs played from 2009-11, not in orange uniforms, they averaged 17.6 points per game.
As young as Tampa Bay’s roster is, there are not a lot of current players who have put on the orange more than once or twice. However, here are a few other Bucs who have apparently enjoyed the experience:
DT Roy Miller: 3 games, 9 tackles, 1.0 sack, 2 tackles for loss, two quarterback hits
- DE Michael Bennett: 2 games, 4 tackles, 1.0 sack, 2 tackles for loss, one quarterback hit
- CB Ronde Barber: 3 games, 8 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, one pass defensed
And perhaps the return of the orange jerseys has Da’Quan Bowers itching to accelerate his return from the PUP list. Bowers has played in just one Buccaneer Throwback Game, as a rookie last year, but it ranks as his best outing as a pro so far. In last year’s Throwback Game against the Carolina Panthers, he racked up eight tackles, 1.5 sacks, an amazing five tackles for loss, two quarterback hits and a pass defensed.