Rookie RB Doug Martin posted 131 yards of total offense, gaining 76 yards on 13 carries and adding 55 yards on two receptions, including a 42-yard catch in the third quarter that set up Freeman's first of two TD passes to Vincent Jackson. Martin also turned in his two longest runs of the season at 23 and 28 yards.
LeGarrette Blount added 58 yards on the ground, including a season-long 35-yard run. Blount is now in 10th place on Tampa Bay's career rushing list with 1,890 yards.
With the Bucs on the Kansas City 37-yard line late in the opening half, coach Greg Schiano called on Connor Barth to attempt a 55-yard field goal and extend his franchise-record streak. Barth's kick toward the south end zone had plenty of distance, but clanged off the left upright and bounced back, ending his run of 25 consecutive successful field goals.
"I caught a little (wind) pocket,'' said Barth, who converted from 27 yards out in the fourth quarter. "It's funny, whenever I hit a post, it never kisses in for me – it always goes right back. Nine times out of 10, I'll put that thing in there. The main thing is we won the game. It was a little tricky out there today.''
It's a start
Jamon Meredith made his first NFL start in three years, opening at right guard in place of struggling Ted Larsen. RT Jeremy Trueblood was also in the mix during the past two weeks of practice, but Meredith got the start and helped Tampa Bay roll up 463 yards of offense in a 38-10 victory.
"It wasn't pretty and it wasn't ugly … it was something to build on,'' said Meredith, who signed in March as an unrestricted free agent. "I'm real critical of myself. I wasn't nervous before the game – I'm a football player.''
Pro Bowl G Carl Nicks was impressed with Meredith's initial start as a Buc. "He did great,'' Nicks said. "When you're a guard and they don't call your name, you did great.''
Taking a knee
For the first time since Greg Schiano created controversy by ordering his team to try to force fumbles when the Giants and Cowboys attempted to run out the clock at the end of games, it was Tampa Bay's offense which finished in Victory Formation.
Josh Freeman lined up in the shotgun, flanked by a pair of teammates, to take the final snap. He quickly dropped to one knee, taking a 5-yard loss as the final seconds ticked off without incident.
A foot injury sidelined CB E.J. Biggers for the first three games before he returned against the Redskins two weeks ago. On Sunday, Biggers started for suspended Aqib Talib and contributed to safety Ronde Barber's 78-yard interception return for a third-quarter touchdown.
Biggers provided tight coverage on shifty Dexter McCluster and Barber picked off Brady Quinn's pass for a 21-3 advantage. "Everybody did their job today,'' Biggers said. "When we did have a bad play, we moved on. That's the kind of attitude you need.''
Talib was suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. "That's my big brother,'' Biggers said of Talib. "He teaches me every day at all times. He's a great player and we're a next-man-up team. He's my teammate and I'll always have Aqib's back.''
|About the writer|
Ira Kaufman has long been both a great writer for The Tampa Tribune and friend to the Bucs UK and BUCPOWER.COM. He writes on all sports for the paper but during the NFL season offers his stories on not just the Buccaneers, but also the NFL in general.