It seems like only yesterday we were talking about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being on the upswing. After all, they did win four straight earlier this season and at one point Tampa Bay was the league's highest scoring team over a six-game span.
But the Bucs have come crashing down to Earth and are playing like they did during last season's 10-game skid.
Sunday's final home game against the St. Louis Rams was a dreadful one to sit through and Bucs fans were not given an early Christmas gift as they watched their team drop their fifth straight game, 28-13.
An offensive line that held up well all season struggled against the Rams' pass rush and allowed Freeman to be under duress all afternoon. That pressure forced Freeman into many bad throws and he tossed four interceptions for the second straight game. He finished the game 30-of-54 for 372 yards with one touchdown and the aforementioned four turnovers.
Tampa Bay's top two receivers both went over 100 yards. Vincent Jackson had seven grabs for 108 yards. Mike Williams caught seven passes for 132 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
The Bucs had to abandon the run in the second half, but Doug Martin still managed to top 100 total yards (62 rushing, 57 receiving). Freeman also chipped in with 18 yards on the ground. LeGarrette Blount once again went an entire game without a single touch.
On defense, the Bucs struggled where they have all season – against the pass. Quarterback Sam Bradford didn't play a great game, but he did make just enough plays against the Bucs' leaky secondary to get the job done. He finished 13-of-27 for 196 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Cornerback Danny Gorrer picked off Bradford early in the game for his first career interception. Rookie Lavonte David led the team in tackles with nine. Rookie Mark Barron was second with eight stops.
With this loss, the Bucs fall to 6-9 and will finish the season next week against the Atlanta Falcons, who have wrapped up home field advantage in the NFC already.Tags: Football, Josh Freeman, Lavonte David, Mike Williams, NFL, Sam Bradford, Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Vincent Jackson