Josh Freeman Engineers Miracle Buccaneer Comeback In Carolina
Do you believe in miracles?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers must because they came up with a big one Sunday in Charlotte and rode out of Bank of America Stadium with a thrilling back-from-the-dead 27-21 win over the Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers had the Bucs all but dead and buried in this thriller. They led the Bucs 21-10 in the fourth and it was Josh Freeman who engineered his greatest career comeback.
On a day where Freeman struggled for most of the football game, he simply saved his best for last, when it was most needed.
Freeman led his team on a seven play, 62-yard scoring drive with 1:02 left in the game to pull the Bucs within two, 21-19. He then found Vincent Jackson with a perfect two-point conversion pass to send the game into overtime.
Fate smiled on the Bucs when they won the overtime coin toss.
Freeman then took the team on an eight-play, 80-yard drive to remember. Doug Martin, who lost a sure touchdown late in the third quarter when he fumbled in the Carolina end zone, made five of those eight plays and picked up 48 yards. With the ball on the Carolina 15 and the Panther defense on its heels, Freeman spotted Dallas Clark alone on the Panther goal line and hit him with pass that Clark hauled in then got both feet down in the end zone as he went out of bounds.
Coach Greg Schiano was mobbed by his staff as the team ran for the locker room with a 6-4 record and a comeback that was nothing short of miraculous.
Indeed, the Bucs did their best to give this one away. They started well and built a 10-0 lead then the entire complexion of the game changed when Freeman threw a pick-six to Captain Munnerlin for a Carolina score and the Bucs would spend the rest of the game on the ropes, getting beaten and battered until Freeman pulled off the last minute and overtime heroics.
“I sure as heck didn’t play my best game, we were struggling,” Freeman admitted after the huge win. “It’s a big win on an emotional scale but it’s just one win. We have to go out and execute better.”