When half-time arrived, it is doubtful that there were many who were watching (either in the stadium, or on their television sets at home) who would have put money down on the idea that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would emerge victorious. They managed only 62 total yards of offense compared to the Vikings 284. Well, much to everyone’s shock (and to fan’s dread) the people who bought Vikings tickets to this game would see a pitiful loss.
Though the Buccaneers were trailing by an astounding 17-0 by halftime, they apparently were not finished yet. You see, Tampa Bay quarterback, Josh Freeman’s 14 career victories came while the Bucs overtook their leading opponent in either the final quarter or overtime. He was able to connect with Arrelious Benn for a 25-yard touchdown, right over-top of top Viking’s defender Cedric Griffin, with just 6:39 left in the game to slash Minnesota’s once authoritative lead to only three points.
After failing to follow-through at the end of their tightly contested match the previous week, versus the Detroit Lions, the motto “carpe-diem,” could appropriately be used to describe how the Bucs responded to adversity, and the opportunity for redemption. After the Buccaneers first touchdown of the game, they attempted something that most teams try at the end of a game – an onside kick (with success). However, on the ensuing drive, a pass intended for Kellen Winslow in the end-zone was intercepted by defensive back, Husain Abdullah (who returned the interception for 32 yards). This was one of the critical and momentum-killing mistakes committed by the Bucs – the other mistake came from an illegal shift penalty, which wiped out a beautiful touchdown catch in the corner of the end-zone by Mike Williams. They would instead settle for a 36-yard field goal from kicker Connor Barth to bring the score to 17-10 with :29 seconds left to play in the third quarter.
They responded by being the first to put points on the board in the game-deciding fourth quarter of play with a field-goal of their own from 29-yards out, off of the foot of Ryan Longwell. It would be the last time in the game the Viking’s would score. With just 6:39 seconds of play left in the game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers capped a triumphant 80-yard drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Arrelious Benn, thrown by their team leading quarterback, Josh Freeman. The Buccaneers would prove their capacity for comebacks with a 60-yard, game-winning, touchdown-producing drive, that would send the wounded team (and equally wounded home audience) off of the field in bitter yet familiar agony. The final score read, Buccaneers, 24, Vikings, 20. “Wow. You’re not supposed to give away a game like that,” said Adrian Peterson after the game. Minnesota’s tendency toward choking, and Tampa’s tendency for comebacks sure made for one entertaining ball game.