Slowing Adrian Peterson a key to Bucs' second-half success
Vikings star RB Adrian Peterson had a pretty memorable day. He rushed for 120 yards on 25 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns. And he made a little history in the process, surpassing 6,000 yards and setting a franchise mark for rushing touchdowns.
In the first half, he was his typically overpowering self.
In the second half, however, Peterson looked rather ordinary.
The credit for that was due to the Bucs’ defense, which tackled substantially better, with a little help from safety Cody Grimm, who played near the line of scrimmage for the balance of the game.
Peterson, after rushing for 83 yards in the first half, was limited to 37 yards on 10 carries in the second half. It was a chief reason the Bucs were able to rally, because the consistent defensive stops put the ball in the hands of QB Josh Freeman.
The secret wasn’t exactly complicated.
“Tackle,” coach Raheem Morris said. “There was no key. Hit the man like you hit anybody else. Tackle him and get him on the ground and the guys came out ready to fly around and tackle.”
"It was simple as that,” DT Gerald McCoy said.
McCoy took Peterson to the ground on the first two plays of the second half, the first a 1-yard gain up the middle, the second a tackle after 6 yards that prevented Peterson from reaching the second level. They weren’t plays that will be celebrated in a game of many big plays, but McCoy it was the spark the defense needed. Later in the half, Peterson had two negative plays, the tackles made by LB Geno Hayes and DT Brian Price.
“I had to do that,” McCoy said. “Somebody had to step up and get it going and set the tone."