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Three and easy: Freeman powers Tampa Bay past Minnesota

The Buccaneers beat the Vikings 36-17 last night to claim sole possession of second in the NFC South.

 Buccaneers running back Doug Martin runs in the end zone after scoring on a 64-yard TD reception.
Buccaneers running back Doug Martin runs in the end zone after scoring on a 64-yard TD reception.
Image: Andy King/AP/Press Association Images

TAMPA BAY’S JOSH Freeman threw three touchdown passes for the third game in a row as the Buccaneers snapped a nine-game road losing streak with a 36-17 victory at Minnesota last night.

The Buccaneers, who had not won away from home since a victory in September 2011 at Minnesota, improved to 3-4 to claim sole possession of second in the NFC South division. The Vikings, second in the NFC North, fell to 5-3.

No Tampa Bay quarterback has ever thrown so many touchdown passes over so many games as Freeman, who completed 19-of-36 passes against the Vikings for 262 yards.

“You get more and more excited,” Freeman said. “You can spread the ball around week in and week out. We have a lot of talented players.”

Rookie running back Doug Martin ran the ball 29 times for 135 yards and a touchdown and caught three passes for 79 yards and a touchdown as Tampa Bay dominated possession time.

“I just wanted to come out and play Buc football, adequately run the ball,” Martin said. “The blockers did a nice job opening up some holes. We were being more physical. I just did my job. I might feel tired tomorrow or the next day.”

Tampa Bay jumped ahead 13-0 with Freeman sandwiching a 1-yard touchdown toss to Erik Lorig between field goals of 28 and 40 yards by Connor Barth.

Christian Ponder put Minnesota on the scoreboard with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Percy Harvin but Freeman answered with a 3-yard touchdown throw to Mike Williams before Blair Walsh’s 51-yard field goal pulled the Vikings within 20-10 at half-time.

Freeman put the Bucs ahead 27-10 with a 64-yard touchdown pass to Martin just 81 seconds into the third quarter and Barth added a 38-yard field goal to put Tampa Bay ahead by 20 points.

Adrian Peterson ran 64 yards for a Vikings touchdown but Tampa Bay answered on a 1-yard touchdown run by Martin, although a conversion throw was missed to leave the visitors ahead by the final margin.

- © AFP, 2012

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