Tampa, FL-- The Buccaneers beat the San Diego Chargers, 34-24, for their 3rd straight win and 4th in their last 5 games.
The Bucs scored a special teams touchdown on a punt block, and a defensive touchdown on a Leonard Johnson interception return. LeQuan Lewis also added a 4th quarter interception of Philip Rivers.
Josh Freeman was 14 of 20 passing for 210 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Doug Martin was held to 68 yards rushing on 19 carries, but caught 3 passes for another 51 yards.
The Chargers stood in the way of the Bucs having a winning record, both San Diego and Tampa Bay walked in to their showdown at Raymond James Stadium with 4-4 records.
San Diego started off the scoring in the first quarter on the third play of the game when Phillip Rivers on 3rd& 11 hit Danario Alexander, who slipped a Leonard Johnson tackle and went 80 yards to the end zone making it 7-0 Chargers.
The Bucs answered on their ensuing possession, orchestrating a 9 play five minute drive capped off with a Josh Freeman roll out pass to Dallas Clark knotting it up at seven. It was Freeman's sixteenth touchdown pass of the season.
San Diego would come right back, thanks to a Ronde Barber holding penalty on 3rd & 6 keeping the Chargers drive alive. Rivers finished the possession hitting Antonio Gates over the middle for the 13 yard score, as the Chargers recaptured the lead 14-7.
Heading in to the second quarter the Bucs trailed by 7, but they cut in to the Chargers advantage with a Connor Barth 40-yard field goal.
On San Diego's next possession Mike Scifres' punt was blocked by Dekoda Watson, the ball was picked up by Adam Heyward and returned 39 yards for the touchdown, giving the Bucs a 17-14 lead.
But the Chargers answered again in this shootout, going 80 yards in 8:28 seconds when Rivers hit Malcolm Floyd for the go ahead touchdown making it 21-17. At the half the Bucs trail San Diego by 4.
Entering the third quarter the Bucs watched as Rivers carved up their secondary. Josh Freeman returned the favor on the Bucs first drive of the second half. Freeman was able to convert a 4th & 1 at the 50 Yard line, maintaining the Bucs possession. Then Freeman hit former Charger Vincent Jackson for a 31-yard pass play, setting up a touchdown pass to Tiquan Underwood. The score gave the Bucs a 24-21 lead.
A scary moment came with 3:52 to play in the third, when linebacker Quincy Black tackled Ryan Matthews for a loss, but on the play the two collided with helmets. Black went to the ground and didn't get up. The 6-year pro from New Mexico had to be carted off on a gurney as he gave a thumbs up and wave as he exited the field to an ovation from the crowd.