MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Josh Freeman threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Erik Lorig, Connor Barth made two field goals and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers led the Minnesota Vikings 13-0 early in the second quarter Thursday night.
After taking a big lead early against the Saints on Sunday, the Bucs came out strong against Minnesota and its sputtering offense.
Doug Martin rushed for 65 yards, including a 41-yard gain on a delayed draw that set up Barth's 28-yard field goal that made it 3-0.
Facing third-and-10 near midfield on his next drive, Freeman stood in the pocket and hit Vincent Jackson in traffic for a 26-yard gain that put Tampa Bay at the 22. After the Bucs advanced to the 1, Freeman faked a handoff and connected with Lorig to make it 10-0.
The drive almost never happened because Roscoe Parrish muffed Chris Kluwe's punt, but was able to recover it on his own in the pileup.
Besides Adrian Peterson's running, the Vikings' offense failed to get anything going.
Christian Ponder managed just 58 passing yards in Sunday's win over Arizona and missed his first four passes as the Vikings went three-and-out on their first three possessions.
After Ponder hit Jerome Simpson late in the first quarter, the wide receiver fumbled and the ball was recovered by the Bucs at their own 46.
The Bucs drove into position for Barth's 40-yard field goal.
With two games apiece against division rivals Chicago and Green Bay plus road trips to Seattle and Houston in the second half of their schedule, the Vikings needed to reach the midpoint of the season with some momentum.
Playing at the dome for the second time in five days was a good way to keep that, particularly given the 5-1 record for home teams in the first six Thursday night games this season.
The Buccaneers won only two of new coach Greg Schiano's first six games, but all four of their losses were by seven points or less. Josh Freeman found Vincent Jackson for 11 completions covering 282 yards combined over the last two games. So despite their built-in disadvantage of being the traveling team, the Bucs weren't an opponent the Vikings could overlook.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Josh Freeman
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Connor Barth
- Minnesota Vikings
- Erik Lorig
- Vincent Jackson
- Christian Ponder