Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Minnesota Vikings: Live Score, Highlights and Analysis
Buccaneers 36, Vikings 17 final score.
After giving up a 14-point lead to the Saints last week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used an efficient offense behind three Josh Freeman touchdown passes and 135 rushing yards behind rookie running back Doug Martin. He also caught a screen pass from Freeman, breaking away for a 64-yard touchdown.
The Bucs opened up a 13-point lead in the second quarter and never looked back.
Their dominating 19-point win marks the second largest margin of victory on Thursday nights this season. Along with the Giants they are the only road teams to win on TNF.
For the Vikings, fumbles by Jerome Simpson and Adrian Peterson led to 10 points for Tampa Bay. It was another horrible game for quarterback Christian Ponder who missed on his first five passes of the game. While his final numbers don't look that bad—19-of-35 for 251 yards with a touchdown and an interception, they don't come close to how poorly the Vikings' offense played.
Adrian Peterson was the only bright spot for the Vikings as he finished with 123 yards and a touchdown. Heading into the weekend he is the NFL's leading rusher—simply an incredible statement when you consider he has major knee surgery about 11 months ago.
This is a big win for Tampa Bay whose four losses were all by seven points or less, and a devastating loss for the Vikings whose offense appears to be floundering.
0:57 seconds left in the game: Christian Ponder almost went the whole game without an interception.
While it can be called a garbage-time interception, this ends another tough game for Ponder. While a win against the Cardinals eased the pain of his eight completion game, this tough loss makes his performance feel that much worse.
The Vikings have been getting by with Ponder not losing the game. With a tough second half of the season they will need him to improve and actually win a game for the team.
2:49 left in the game: Turn out the lights, the party's over.
The Buccaneers are 3-4 on the season with their next game also on the road in Oakland. This will be another winnable game for Tampa Bay. Unfortunately for the Bucs, they still have two games left with the undefeated Falcons.
For the Vikings they drop to 5-3, with a tough road game in Seattle against the 4-3 Seahawks. With two games each against the Bears and Packers yet on their schedule, any thought of Minnesota making a playoff push can just about be forgotten.
4:50 left in the game: With the Vikings driving deep into Tampa Bay territory, and will forgo field goals for touchdowns, there may not be anymore scoring.
If the Bucs hold on here, look for them to run the clock out.
7:03 left in the game: Vikings fans just need to keep reminding themselves, that even with this defeat, the team has won more games this season than last season and they are only one win away from matching the total in 2010.
The 12-4 season behind Brett Favre in 2009 seems like an eternity ago. Even the Christian Ponder who went the first four game without an interception, seems like a season ago.
7:49 left in the game: Tampa Bay is about to put the dagger into the Vikings' heart.
Facing a 3rd-and-goal from the one-yard line, no matter what happens, field goal or touchdown, it will be tough for the Vikings to comeback.
End of the 3rd quarter: So far most of the predictions for the game have been wrong. Most pundits picked the Vikings in a close game.
Nowhere did I find anyone predicting the Buccaneers in a rout.
With only 15 minutes left in the game, the Vikings need to almost double their score.
3:15 left in the 3rd quarter: Finally, Jared Allen is in the action, kind of. After getting his helmet ripped off his head by offensive tackle Donald Penn. Both players were flagged, for offsetting penalties.
As my mother always used to say when my brother and I fought as kids, no blood-no count. Allen comes away with blood on his face.
Of course, on the very next play, a 3rd-and-10 from the 30 yard line, Allen comes up with his first sack of the game.
If the Vikings don't come up with a score on this drive, Allen just might want to get into a fight with his offense.
6:34 left in 3rd quarter: Just what the Vikings needed. The defense pitches a three-and-out to get the ball back for the offense.
If the Vikings were wise they would continue to give the ball to Adrian Peterson.
11:30 left in 3rd quarter: Last week the Vikings defense gave up 104 yards to someone named LaRod Stephens-Howling, who only had 167 yards in all of 2011.
In this game Doug Martin has rushed for 124 yards, and there's still a lot of game left.
As the game progresses the Buccaneers will probably continue to hand him the ball.
12:20 left in the 3rd quarter: The Vikings needed to answer the touchdown by Doug Martin. Instead they go three-and-out again.
If the Buccaneers score again on this drive, this game could be over early, and perhaps we will see backup quarterback Joe Webb.
Halftime: Rookie Doug Martin is outshining Adrian Peterson with 106 rushing yards to 60 yards.
Christian Ponder, who is 9-for-19 passing, has one more completion than he did last week. Again, Percy Harvin leads the Vikings receivers with four catches.
Josh Freeman is 10-for-22 with two touchdown passes.
The question of the first half might be—has anyone seen Jared Allen? The Vikings other defensive end, Brian Robison has been in the face of Freeman with three batted balls.
0:35 left in the half: Another big hit by rookie safety Harrison Smith on rookie running back Doug Martin forces the third punt on the night for Tampa Bay.
2:00 Warning. Buccaneers 20, Vikings 7: The Vikings are driving. They need an answer after yielding 10 points in each quarter.
They are driving in Tampa Bay territory.
7:04 left in the half: Just when you thought the momentum might be slipping away from Tampa Bay, Adrian Peterson puts the ball on the turf deep in Minnesota territory.
Like the Jerome Simpson fumble, Peterson was trying to gain a few extra yards.
8:37 left in the first half: One good drive and the Metrodome is rocking.
The Buccaneers scoring drives come to an end as they are forced to punt. As good as the Buccaneers have been, they are one score away from losing their lead.
Alas, tis it better to have had a lead and lost, than to never have a lead?
At this point I would rather be the team with the lead.
12:24 left in the second quarter: Tampa Bay takes advantage of the Jerome Simpson fumble and stretch their lead.
Buccaneers 13, Vikings 0.
At least in their previous drive the Vikings had their first first down and Christian Ponder had his first completion.
Doug Martin continues to have a good game with 69 yards on eight carries.
1:40 left in the first quarter: Things go from bad to worse for the Vikings. Christian Ponder finally completed his first pass in the game, and Jerome Simpson coughs it up as he was trying to get some extra yardage.
First, there were snow flakes in the air in the Twin Cities today, and now the Buccaneers are dominating the Vikings.
3:34 left in the first quarter: It's all Tampa Bay. Josh Freeman connects with fullback Erik Lorig on a 1-yard touchdown on a first-and-goal play.
Buccaneers 10, Vikings 0.
It Freeman's 12th touchdown pass of the year. The big play in the drive was a 26-yard completion to Vincent Jackson, with the Buccaneers facing a 3rd-and-10.
8:07 left in the first quarter: The Vikings are waltzing their way through this game—one, two, three, punt, one, two, three, punt, one, two three, punt.
Christian Ponder is 0-for-5 passing.
9:48 left in the first quarter: Finally a drive that did not end in a punt.
Buccaneers 3, Vikings 0.
Following a lousy, punt the Bucs take advantage of a 41-yard run by rookie running back Doug Martin. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay it ends in a 28-yard field goal.
So far the rookie is getting the better of Adrian Peterson—but it's early.
11:42 left in the first quarter: So much for a punters' showcase. Vikings' punter Chris Kluwe shanks a 20-yard punt, and the Minnesota faithful are already booing.
It could be a long night.
12:34 left in the first quarter: So far it would appear that we have two teams struggling on offense with both offenses going 3-and-out.
It might take a little bit for these guys to loosen up and shake off the aches and pains from last Sunday, or it could be a punters' showcase if things don't pick up.
14:11 left in first quarter: Not a great start for the Vikings with a three-and-out and a punt. Tampa Bay put some pressure on Christian Ponder who starts the game 0-for-2.
Not a great way to get the home crowd into the game.
Getting ready for kickoff, the Vikings will get the first crack to set the tone.
Last week Adrian Peterson had his best rushing day since Week 7 last year against the Packers. He finished with 153 yards on 23 carries against the Cardinals.
He also scored his first touchdown since the season opener.
With 652 yards on the season, he is only seven yards behind the leader, Arian Foster of the Texans. He will be facing a defense has allows only 76 rushing yards per game. It will be interesting to see which team will be able to force their will in this game.
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