TAMPA – Doug Martin didn’t do to San Diego what he did to Oakland a week earlier. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t damn good.
Martin carried 19 times for 68 yards and caught three passes for 51 yards (119 all-purpose yards) as he helped the Buccaneers beat the San Diego Chargers 34-24 at the Big Pirate Ship in Tampa Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the Bucs Josh Freeman went 14-for-20 for 210 yards and two touchdowns as the Bucaneers won their fourth game in the last five starts and are now 5-4 on the season.
“As a team, we did a lot of good things today.” Freeman said after the game. “When you score on a blocked punt like Adam (Heyward) did and then bring an interception back for another touchdown like (Leonard) Johnson did. That’s a great day.”
Johnson was kind of shocked that San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers threw a pass right into Johnson’s hands. In fact, he almost didn’t start his return he was so stunned with the pass, but once he revved it up; nobody was going to stop him.
Rivers wasn’t bad – 29-for-37 for 337 yards and three touchdowns – but he served up two interceptions with one of them returned for a TD.
San Diego fell to 4-5 on the season even though Rivers was decent and receiver Danario Alexander caught five passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. But, ultimately, the Chargers weren’t in the Bucs league.
“It’s not acceptable to play hard and not win, and that’s what happened,” said San Diego head coach Norv Turner.
“Is it acceptable? No, it’s not acceptable. Is it acceptable having a blocked punt and an interception for a touchdown? No. That’s not what we’re trying to accomplish out there. We’re trying to go win games, and those things are keeping us from winning.”
It was a great Sunday for the Bucs, Pats, Vikings, Seahawks, Saints and Broncos. It was a great Sunday for one Manning, a back called A.P., Joe Flacco and concussion experts.
It was a bad Sunday for the defending Super Bowl champions, three quarterbacks who were knocked out by concussions and four coaches on shaky ground – Andy Reid, Ron Rivera, Norv Turner and Rex Ryan.
Let’s look closely at what happened on Sunday of Week 10:
Minnesota 34 Detroit 24
This was all about Adrian Peterson. AP carried 27 times for 171 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown. Peterson ran for 120 yards in the final quarter to put the game away as the Vikings improved to 6-4 and Detroit fell to 4-5. Christian Ponder went 24-for-32 for 221 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Lions’ Matt Stafford went 28-for42 for 329 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Calvin Johnson caught 12 passes for 207 yards and one of those touchdowns. The Lions squandered Megatron’s best game of the year while A.P., who leads the NFL in rushing, took another step toward winning Player of the Year honors.
New England 37 Buffalo 31
Tom Brady went 23-for-38 for 237 yards and two touchdowns, but the Pats took a 17-3 lead and let the Bills come to within 34-31 midway through the fourth quarter. The Pats are now 6-3 while the Bills fell to 3-6. Freddie Jackson carried 16 times for 80 yards and two TDs for Buffalo. Stevan Ridley carried 22 times for 98 yards and one TD for the Patriots.
New Orleans 31 Atlanta 27
Atlanta is no longer undefeated but the Falcons got it down to the Saints’ two-yard-line late in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t convert on fourth down. Matt Ryan went 34-for-52 for 411 yards, three touchdowns and one interception while Tony Gonzalez caught 11 passes for 122 yards and two TDs (he became the first NFL tight end to catch 100 TD passes in a career), but it wasn’t enough to win on the road. Drew Brees went 21-for-32 for 298 yards, three touchdowns and one interception while tight end Jimmy Graham caught seven passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. After getting off to a 0-4 start, the Saints are now 4-5. The Falcons fall to 8-1 after Ryan lost his fourth straight game to New Orleans.
Denver 36 Carolina 14
Peyton Manning was brilliant – 27-for-38 for 301 yards and a touchdown. Manning made former Panthers’ coach John Fox’s return to Charlotte very successful. Trindon Holliday returned another punt for a touchdown, this time 76 yards. Manning threw his 420th career touchdown pass to move into a tie for second place on the NFL’s all-time list with Dan Marino. He trails only Brett Favre (508). Demaryius Thomas caught nine passes for 135 yards.
Baltimore 55 Oakland 20
What a game for Joe Flacco. The Ravens QB completed 21-of-33 passes for 341 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Torrey Smith caught two passes for 67 yards, both for TDs. Baltimore is now 7-2 while the Raiders fall to 3-6. Oakland QB Carson Palmer went 29-for-45 for 368 yards and two touchdowns, but the Raiders defense had no answer for Flacco.
Seattle 28 New York Jets 7
The Jets did not score an offensive touchdown as shaky Mark Sanchez went nine-for-22 for 124 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. The 3-6 Jets were horrendous and either Tim Tebow needs to start or Rex Ryan needs to be fired. Meanwhile, rookie quarterback Russell Wilson went 12-for-19 for 188 yards and two touchdowns – 38 yards to Golden Tate and 31 yards to Sidney Rice – to lead the Seahawks to a 6-4 record. Tate added a touchdown pass of his own, off a reverse, to Rice in the fourth quarter. To pay homage to Dennis Green: “The 3-6 Jets are just as bad as we thought they were.”
Tennessee 37 Miami 3
The Dolphins were horrible and suffered the worst home loss since 1968. Colin McCarthy returned an interception 49-yards for a touchdown and the Titans, with Jake Locker back at quarterback, took advantage for four takeaways to win in a romp. Locker went nine-for-21 for 122 yards, but with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Chris Johnson carried 23 times for 126 yards and a touchdown. Last week, in a 51-20 loss to the Bears, the Titans trailed 28-2 after one quarter. This week they led 21-0 after 16 minutes. Miami’s Ryan Tannehill looked like a rookie – 23-for-39 for 217 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. The 6-3 Broncos won for the fifth time in six weeks.
Cincinnati 31 New York Giants 13
The Giants looked sluggish from the start and got their collective butts handed to them. A week ago Bengals receiver A.J. Green said the Giants defense, “had a lot of holes,” and it did. Green caught seven passes for 85 yards and a TD. Andy Dalton went 21-for-33 for 198 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. The 4-5 Bengals took advantage of a fumble and two Eli Manning interceptions. Manning was awful – 29-for-46 for 215 yards, no touchdowns and two INTs. The Giants turned over the football four times in the second half as Cincinnati improved to 4-5 and stopped a four-game losing streak.
Dallas 38 Philadelphia 23
The Eagles lost Michael Vick to a concussion in the second quarter and while they did build a 17-10 lead with Nick Foles at quarterback, but too many mistakes dropped the Eagles to 3-6. Dwayne Harris returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown and Brandon Carr returned an interception 47 yards for another TD and that one put the game away. The Cowboys’ Tony Romo went 19-for-26 for 209 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Dez Bryant caught three passes for 87 yards and one TD for the 4-5 Cowboys.
St. Louis 24 San Francisco 24 (OT-Tie)
Both kickers missed overtime field goals and time ran out before either got another chance as the NFL got its first time game in four years. The Rams Sam Bradford went 26-for-39 for 275 yards and two touchdowns. The Rams are now 3-5-1. Alex Smith left the game with a concussion after going seven-for-eight for 72 yards and a touchdown. Colin Kaepernick came in and went 11-for-17 for 117 yards and also rushed eight times for 66 yards and a TD. The Niners are now 6-2-1.
Houston 13 Chicago 6
The Bears don’t have much offense with Jay Cutler at quarterback. They have even less without him. Cutler became the third starting quarterback of the day (joining Michael Vick and Alex Smith) to leave the game with a concussion and backup Jason Campbell couldn’t get anything going as the Bears fell to 7-2 while the Texans improved to 8-1. A rainy/snowy/sleety game didn’t allow for much offense at all as Houston managed 13 first downs to the Bears eight. Houston RB Arian Foster carried 29 times for 102 yards while Matt Schaub went 14-for-26 for 95 yards, one touchdown (a pass to Foster) and two interceptions – and he won to take the Texans to 8-1. This was an offensive clunker. Tim Jennings had two interceptions for Chicago while Brandon’s Israel Idonije had a tackle and four assists. On a scale of 1-10, the entertainment value of this one was about a two.
Pittsburgh 16 Kansas City 13 (OT)
The Steelers got the win on a horrible night in Pittsburgh, but they also got some very bad news. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed most of the second half with a right shoulder injury and no one is quite sure how long he’ll be out of action. In the meantime, Shaun Swisham kicked a 23-yard field goal 51 seconds into OT, just one play after Lawrence Timmons intercepted a Matt Cassel pass and returned it to the Chiefs five-yard-line. K.C.’s Jamaal Charles was the best player on the field, carrying 23 times for 100 yards and one TD. The Steelers are 6-3 while the Chiefs fall to 1-8.