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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs break out the long passing plays, but still come up short



When Vincent Jackson signed the biggest contract given to a receiver in this year’s class of free agents, you probably assumed the Bucs would look to make the deal pay off.

On Sunday – a week after Jackson had four catches for 47 yards against Carolina – the Bucs looked to cash in.

Jackson finished with five catches for 128 yards, including a 41-yard deep ball down the sideline and a 29-yard touchdown strike. Mike Williams also went deep, catching a 41-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

“We want to run the ball and, of course, when we have the chance we want to be aggressive in the passing game as well,” said Jackson, who signed for five years and $55.55 million. “We have good receivers and we have a quarterback who can make all the throws as well.”

The problem, however, was that on a day when Eli Manning threw for 510 yards, the Bucs didn’t have spectacular offensive results nearly enough. After a number of big gains early in the game, the Bucs went a long stretch without any. In fact, the Bucs didn’t convert a third down between the 13:55 mark of the second quarter and the 10:57 mark of the fourth quarter.

Later, when the Bucs were scrambling to respond to the Giants’ rally, Williams and Jackson were hit for additional big plays. But they needed more of those, and earlier.

“Looking back. . . that’s definitely an area where we’re going to have to find a way to get stay going,” Freeman said. “We started out the game making some plays, we were moving the ball then we hit a bit of a lull.”

[Last modified: Monday, September 17, 2012 8:19am]


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