Tampa Bay rolled into Minnesota last night and not only handed the Vikings their first home loss, they owned them up and down the field. Rookie Doug Martin racked up 214 yards from scrimmage and led his team to a decisive 36-17 beatdown. The Vikings are 5-3 after the loss, and while they’re still in it right now they’re looking less and less like a contender each week, even when they win.
The most glaring thing to me to come out of last night is that Josh Freeman is really coming into his own for the Bucs. He had three passing TDs for the third straight game, and while he completed just over 50% of his passes on the night, it was higher than the 44% he had been averaging on the road this season.
The Bucs are now 3-4 on the year and still 2.5 games behind division leader Atlanta. They have only lost their four games by only a total of 22 points, and the most they’ve lost by is seven.
Doug Martin is legit. He led the team with 135 yards on 29 carries and added 79 yard receiving to lead the team in that category as well. His 64 yard TD reception was a thing of beauty and once he got clear, he flew down the field and was able to just jog the last 12 yards or so.
The Bucs travel to Oakland next week, then host the Chargers, then have a road game at Carolina before meeting up with Atlanta in Tampa for a critical division matchup in week 12. If they keep playing the way they are, Tampa could very well be 7-4 at that point and in the hunt for the postseason.