In a dominant performance, the Buccaneers defeated the Vikings, who lost at home for the first time all season. It was also Tampa’s first win outside Raymond James season. The Bucs took a 13-0 lead to start the game, and never looked back. They weren’t outscored in a single quarter, and only tied in the second. This is a game the Bucs thoroughly dominated against a good team. They improved to 3-4, and things seem to be trending upwards.
For the third straight game, the offense was on fire. This time it was Doug Martin who shined. He easily had the best game of this young career, with over 200 yards of total offense. He led the team in rushing and receiving in this one and scored two touchdowns. The first was on a 64 yard screen pass, showcasing his breakaway speed. Since the season began I’ve been calling for Blount to get more carries, but I have to give credit to Schiano. Despite the early struggles of Martin, he stuck with him as a feature back. It has really started to prove to be a smart move on his part, as the rookie is really starting to put together a great year.
Josh Freeman put together another good game, tossing three touchdowns without turning over the ball. He wasn’t spectacular, but the end result was extremely good. He spread the ball all over the field. Overall, the Bucs had over 400 yards of offense and controlled the ball for and outrageous 37 minutes. They really never lost control of this one.
As for the defense, they kept the Vikings stars from getting out of hand. While Peterson still ran for 123 yards, he did so on just 15 carries. An impressive feat, but they didn’t allow the running game to beat them. By taking an early lead, they forced the Vikings to the passing game. Plus, if you take away Peterson’s 64 yard run, he had just 59 total. Ponder had very similar stats as Freeman, but he only had one score and an interception. Percy Harvin had a solid game with 90 yards and a score, but a lot of the damage came with the game out of hand. Coming into the game, Tampa had just 7 sacks total. They had 3 in this game alone.
Despite their 3-4 records, Tampa has outscored their opponents by 31 points. They have won 2 of their last 3, and the one loss was very nearly a win over New Orleans. They have some pretty winnable games coming up as well. They travel to Oakland next week, and should be very well rested. That follows with a home game against San Diego and then back on the road at Carolina. I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see the Bucs with a 6-4 record heading into a big home game against Atlanta. I am getting way ahead of myself, but Tampa is starting to heat up just in time.