Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Freeman struggles as Vikings lose to Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Josh Freeman's first game with the Vikings went no better than his last three with the Bucs.

Starting for Minnesota two weeks after he was released by Tampa Bay, Freeman went 20-for-53 for 190 yards and an interception in a 23-7 loss to the Giants on Monday night.

Freeman, the Bucs' 2009 first-round pick, saw his career in Tampa Bay come to a messy and controversial end. He signed with the Vikings on Oct. 8 and got the starting nod over Matt Cassel, who had started the past two games for Minnesota, and Christian Ponder, who was a healthy scratch.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Vikings opted to lean heavily on their rusty QB rather than pit MVP running back Adrian Peterson against the Giants' 26th-ranked rushing defense.

Freeman completed 37.7 percent of his passes, the lowest mark for any quarterback throwing 40 passes since the Giants' Eli Manning in 2007. According to espn.com, Freeman overthrew 16 receivers, most by any QB since the start of the 2006 season.

The Giants got their first win of the season by holding Peterson in check and cashing in on the Vikings' mistakes.

"I sure am happy about winning,'' Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "It's like, oh, this is what it feels like.''

The Giants began the season with six losses in which they were the team turning over the ball (minus-16) while showing little penchant for playing defense. But against the Vikings, they were efficient enough, if not overwhelming, and had three takeaways to one lost fumble.

"The players and coaches have great pride in what we're doing," Manning said. "We just had to keep going, get rid of some of the mistakes, and play the way we need to play."

Peterson was held to 28 yards five days after his 2-year-old son was buried in South Dakota. The man accused in the death was indicted on second-degree murder and manslaughter charges, prosecutors said Monday.

Josh Brown kicked three field goals and Rueben Randle caught a 24-yard TD pass for New York.

Marcus Sherels provided Minnesota's points with an 86-yard punt return, but his fumble without being hit during a runback midway in the third quarter set up New York at the Vikings 3.

Peyton Hillis, signed Wednesday with the Giants in dire need of running backs, surged in from the 1 for a 17-7 lead, New York's biggest in 2013.

The lead grew on Brown's 23-yard field goal to finish off a 16-play, 75-yard drive, and to 23-7 on his 36-yarder. Another Vikings mistake handed those points to the Giants: Rookie and former Gator Sharrif Floyd, a defensive tackle, fumbled at Minnesota's 18 while returning a short kickoff.

The Giants controlled the ball for most of the opening quarter and led 3-0 when Sherels broke his punt return, the third against the Giants this season. He sped down the left sideline virtually untouched then twice faked out punter Steve Weatherford. Weatherford brought him down in the end zone with a horse-collar tackle.

Minnesota had a total of 8 yards on punt runbacks heading into Monday night. But Sherels set a team mark with 119.

Before Sherels' sprint, New York had gone 17 plays and used up the first 9:36, but bogged down at the 16 and Brown made a 35-yard field goal.

One play after Minnesota rookie's Xavier Rhodes' 23-yard pass interference penalty, Manning threw to a leaping Randle in the left corner of the end zone.

Comments
Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

TAMPA — He's 30."I know. I'm getting old," Gerald McCoy said Tuesday, shaking his head.He's still a young man, of course. But in football years, McCoy has finally reached a black balloon birthday. This is his ninth season with the Bucs, which i...
Updated: 3 hours ago
HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

Former Gators and Bucs linebacker Scot Brantley, also once a popular sports radio host in Tampa, is battling Alzheimer's Disease and has been rejected from the NFL's concussion settlement, according to tonight's episode of HBO's "Real Sports with Bry...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Mike Evans is one of just three receivers in NFL history to open his career with four straight 1,000-yard seasons, but he understands one area where he can make a big improvement in 2018: yards after the catch."I think last year was my worst year in ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Gerald McCoy: Sorry, but Vita Vea is Maui from Moana

Gerald McCoy: Sorry, but Vita Vea is Maui from Moana

If you've been dipping your toes in the "Gosh, Vita Vea looks a lot like the guy from Disney's Moana" pool, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has jumped in all the way.The Bucs' 347-pound rookie is massive, has a family history on the Pacific island...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Jason Pierre-Paul, Brent Grimes absent as Bucs open OTA practices

Jason Pierre-Paul, Brent Grimes absent as Bucs open OTA practices

The Bucs started another chapter of their offseason Tuesday with the first OTA (organized team activity) practice at One Buc Place, with veterans Jason Pierre-Paul and Brent Grimes as the only healthy players absent from what is officially a voluntar...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Bucs Jameis Winston gets engaged to long-time girlfriend Breion Allen who says, ‘Well, it’s about damn time’

Bucs Jameis Winston gets engaged to long-time girlfriend Breion Allen who says, ‘Well, it’s about damn time’

On a day when the Royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was taking place across the pond, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston proposed marriage to his long-time girlfriend Breion Allen Saturday in New York City.She said yes.The proposal to...
Published: 05/21/18
Could Bucs find another undrafted rookie tight end in 2018?

Could Bucs find another undrafted rookie tight end in 2018?

At no position is the Bucs' ability to find talent outside the NFL draft more clear than at tight end, where three of the four returning players from last season joined the Bucs as undrafted rookie free agents.Cameron Brate did so in 2014, Alan Cross...
Published: 05/21/18
Why the Buccaneers’ 2018 schedule isn’t as bad as it seems

Why the Buccaneers’ 2018 schedule isn’t as bad as it seems

Saints, Eagles, Steelers.Three games against three playoff teams to open the NFL season.Who in the league scheduling office did the Buccaneers tick off?What an injustice!Or not.Maybe the league did the Bucs a favor.Would you rather face the Saints, E...
Published: 05/21/18
O-line coach ‘ecstatic’ about Bucs drafting Vita Vea

O-line coach ‘ecstatic’ about Bucs drafting Vita Vea

Add another to the long list of Bucs players and coaches excited about first-round pick Vita Vea: offensive line coach George Warhop.Warhop said the 347-pound defensive tackle from Washington kept showing up as he looked at tape on Pac-12 offensive l...
Published: 05/19/18
Pillow talk: O-line coach says Bucs need tougher approach to run the ball

Pillow talk: O-line coach says Bucs need tougher approach to run the ball

TAMPA — At least he stopped short of calling them soft. That's not a word you ever want to use when describing an NFL player, much less the entire offensive line. That would be a tough pillow to swallow.But it's clear George Warhop didn't like ...
Published: 05/19/18