By Kyra Hallett
With 12 seconds left in the game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were down by a touchdown to the New York Giants. Tampa Bay had seemingly put itself in a position to tie the game by completing a 29-yard pass to the Giants 16-yard line, but the play was reversed after review, sending the Bucs back to the New York 45 yard line. Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman still had time to run at least two more plays, but on the very next play he threw a pick to Giants linebacker Michael Boley — game over. After leading the entire game up until the fourth quarter, the Buccaneers lost 41-34,
As a whole, the Bucs did their job, but once again, they were not strong in the second half after dominating the first.
Bucs’ Offense: B
The Bucs’ offense was not amazing, but it had some shining moments. It gained only 79 rushing yards with Doug Martin carrying 20 times for 66 yards and a touchdown. For the rookie Martin’s first touchdown, he showed off some of his amazing moves by spinning out of a tackle. Tight end Dallas Clark had a few crucial plays toward the end of the game as well.
Freeman threw to eight different receivers with Vincent Jackson being targeted 10 times. Jackson had some big catches with five receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown. He also had a few important blocks and received a hard hit, but no flag was thrown.
The Bucs ran a total of 52 plays while the Giants ran 76, and in total offense the Giants outgained the Bucs 604-307. The offensive line did its job and gave Freeman time in the pocket.
Josh Freeman threw for 243 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and was sacked twice for a loss of 15 yards. He threw more deep passes this week than last, and seemed more confident. His biggest plays were 41-yard passes to Jackson and Mike Williams. Jackson was definitely Freeman’s main target. Freeman is still not up to his 2010 form, but looks to be making his way back there.
The two picks came at bad times for the Bucs. The first was to Corey Webster, which led to a Giants field goal, and the second ended the game to Michael Boley. Freeman said the team must “find ways to score more points.”
Special Teams: A
Once again, the Bucs’ special teams were top notch. Kicker Connor Barth made all his field goals and extra points. His longest field goal was 52 yards.
Punter Michael Koenen had three punts in the red zone with his longest punt being 53 yards.
Arrelious Benn was active for the game Sunday and did kickoff returns. In his first play back, he fumbled but the Bucs recovered. Benn soon shook off the cobwebs and ended up returning seven kicks for 180 yards with his longest being 55 yards at the start of the second half.
The Bucs’ defense looked good once again, but ended tired. They had great goal line presence, holding the Giants to field goals when they really should have had touchdowns. The defense also had three interceptions.
Linebacker Mason Foster started the second quarter and the flurry of picks. He also had the most tackles with 13 total tackles. The second interception went to cornerback Brandon McDonald, who ran it back for 40 yards, and the last one went to Eric Wright, who ran it back 60 yards for a touchdown.
Cornerback Ronde Barber almost had two interceptions, but could not finish the plays.
The Bucs’ defense kept Tampa Bay in the game for a long time, but by the time the fourth quarter came, they were tired. Toward the end of the game, they were on the field more than the offense. The Giants time of possession was 33:29 minutes.
This game was full of injuries on the both sides, the Giants seeing some more serious ones. Giants right tackle David Diehl left the game with a right knee injury and did not return. Giants wide receiver Domenik Hixon left the game with a head injury, which was later diagnosed as a concussion, and running back Ahmad Bradshaw left the game to get x-rays on his neck and did not return, but was on the sideline for the remainder of the game.
Bucs’ injured tackle Jeremy Trueblood did not play, so Demar Dotson got the start at right tackle. During the game, wide receiver Preston Parker left with a foot injury and did not return. Eric Wright left game with lower back injury.
Next week the Bucs face the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas. The Bucs need to learn how to go 100 percent all the way to the end of the game if they want a shot at beating the Cowboys.
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Kyra Hallett is a freelance writer and a Multimedia Sports Journalist. She has experience covering Tampa Bay sports in many outlets including Examiner.com. Her dream job would be to work with the athletes and their fans. You can view some of her work at KyraHallett.com or here at Examiner.com.