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Running back LeGarrette Blount giving Tampa Bay Buccaneers an edge late

Bucs running back LeGarrette Blount finished with 127 yards on 25 carries against the Colts on Monday, marking his first 100-yard game of the season.

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times

Bucs running back LeGarrette Blount finished with 127 yards on 25 carries against the Colts on Monday, marking his first 100-yard game of the season.

TAMPA — LeGarrette Blount's ability to break tackles is enabling the Bucs to hold onto leads and close out games.

For the second straight week, the Bucs were able to drive then run out the clock using their 250-pound running back.

Blount rushed for 127 yards and scored the winning touchdown on a 35-yard run with 3:15 left in the 24-17 victory over the Colts on Monday night.

A week ago, Blount had 21 yards on six carries in the final four minutes of the 16-13 win over the Falcons. Against the Colts, Blount rushed nine times for 72 yards in the fourth quarter.

"We embrace the four-minute drill," coach Raheem Morris said. "That's where you want to be in football games, especially when you got a great offense, and we're working our way to becoming a great offense. … We did not make a smart decision at the end of the (first) half there; that's why we couldn't get off our field goal.

"But to get better and better throughout the game, to finish the way we finished, is what I want and what I like."

Blount, who rushed for 1,007 yards as a rookie, recorded his first 100-yard rushing day of the season and fifth of his career.

"I feel like I should have had a 100-yard game by now," Blount said. "My offensive line has been awesome, so there were a few plays that I left on the field the last few games and could have had a 100-yard game, but I'm happy that we got it out of the way."

QB Josh Freeman said he is proud of the improvement Blount has made in his desire to become a complete back. Blount also caught one pass for 14 yards.

"LeGarrette, he's been grinding," Freeman said. "He's been turning himself into the complete back. You see him getting out in the check downs, catching some and being involved in more than just the base run game. I think that's a testament to him and the type of person he is.

"We challenged him going in the last offseason, and, even without the organized offseason, he still found time to study. He called me up, we went over things, and he got ready to go. I'm really proud of his progression."

Parker's place: WR Preston Parker is becoming a bigger part of the Bucs offense. Playing for injured slot WR Sammie Stroughter, Parker scored his first career touchdown against the Colts. He finished with five catches for 70 yards and a score.

"Preston's huge," Freeman said. "He scored a touchdown this week. The Minnesota game, we couldn't have gotten it done without him. He had a number of big plays (Monday night) and did really well within the running game — going out, digging out a linebacker, safety — or in the passing game, catching balls and getting yards. He's great for us."

Odds and ends: For the second straight week, the Bucs recorded four sacks and allowed less than 100 yards rushing. The Colts finished with 62 yards on 18 carries (3.4 average). Three of the sacks came in the fourth quarter. … The Bucs earned a double-digit comeback win for the ninth time since 2008, the most in the NFL during that time.

Running back LeGarrette Blount giving Tampa Bay Buccaneers an edge late 10/04/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 8:45pm]
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