Josh Freeman, Doug Martin carry Bucs past Vikings
Minneapolis, MN, United States (4E Sports) – Quarterback Josh Freeman threw three touchdown passes while rookie running back Doug Martin added two scores as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers clinched their first road win of the year by crushing the Minnesota Vikings, 36-17, Thursday at Mall of America.
With its first prime-time victory since 2003, Tampa Bay improved its record to 3-4, good for second place in the NFC South while the Vikings fell to 5-3 in the NFC North.
The Buccaneers have won six straight games against the Vikings and emerged victorious in three consecutive contests in Minnesota, also prevailing at Metrodome in 2005 and 2011.
Freeman, who completed 19 of 36 passes for 262 yards, threw scoring passes of 64 yards to Martin, three yards to Mike Williams and one yard to Erik Lorig to become the first quarterback in franchise history with at least three TD tosses in three consecutive games.
After the Vikings came within 30-17 with a 64-yard touchdown run by Adrian Peterson, Freeman led the Buccaneers to a 16-play, 87-yard drive that ended with Martin’s scoring run.
Martin, the 31st pick in this year’s draft, finished with 135 yards on 29 carries with a touchdown, both career highs, while also catching three passes for 79 yards and a score. He became first Buccaneer since Warrick Dunn in 2001 to score on a catch and a run in the same game.
Williams led the Bucs with 68 yards on six catches with a touchdown, helping the Bucs surpass 400 yards for the third straight game with 416 total yards against the Vikings.
Kicker Connor Barth added three field goals from 28, 38 and 40 yards while cornerback Ronde Barber recorded nine tackles.
Barth scored two field goals from 28 and 40 yards and Lorig caught a one-yard touchdown pass from Freeman to give the Bucs a 13-0 lead in the second quarter.
Vikings playmaker Christian Ponder connected with wide receiver Percy Harvin for an 18-yard score but Freeman answered with a three-yard scoring heave to Williams.
Kicker Blair Walsh closed the second quarter with a 51-yard field goal that brought the Vikings to within 20-10.
In the third quarter, Freeman hit Martin with 64-yard touchdown pass and Barth added a 38-yard field goal for a 30-10 lead but Peterson replied with a 64-yard run to cut the deficit.
Martin then added a one-yard touchdown run with seven minutes left.
Ponder completed 19 of 35 throws for 251 yards with one touchdown and an interception and Peterson gained 123 yards on 15 carries and a score. Harvin led the Vikings’ receiving corps with 90 yards on seven catches.