In the early going the Bucs offensive line was atrocious giving up a sack to Jared Allen on their first play from scrimmage. They also gave up multiple pressures and hits that even had Josh Freeman with a bloody lip. Freeman is making some nice throws but he’s had a lot of pressure in his face and his receivers have had some issues with dropping the ball. None of the Tampa receivers are winning their one-on-one matchups. Case and point on third and three with 4:16 left in the second the Vikings decided to blitz everyone and play one-on-one coverage on the outside. Not one receiver got any separation.
Coming in with the supposed game plan of getting the running game and Legarrette Blount going they only handed him the ball 5 times with him gaining a total of 4 yards. The best run of the half came on a draw play where Earnest Graham gained a whopping 7 yards.
All in all the Buccaneers did not even cross the 50 yard line into Vikings territory at any point during the first half. With a total of only 62 yards the Buccaneers will have some major adjustments to make if they want to have any kind of a shot to climb back into this game.
The Buccaneers run defense looked awful. Mason Foster in particular has looked pretty poor both in run support and coverage. Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, and the Vikings rushing attack racked up 137 yards on the Bucs in the first half. Peterson took sole possession of 1st place on the Vikings all time rushing touchdowns list with his 53rd rushing touchdown to close the 1st quarter. He then began furthering his own record with his second rushing touchdown late in the 2nd quarter. Peterson has killed the Bucs so far almost all on his own with 83 yards on only 15 carries with 2 TD’s.
The success of the Vikings running game set up the play action pass which in turn led to some big gains for the Vikings. After throwing for only 39 total yards last week against the Chargers McNabb threw for 153 yards in the first half alone. Although he hasn’t thrown any touchdowns with Peterson shredding the Buccaneer defense he hasn’t need to do much.
The Pewter Pirates have their work cut out for them in the 2nd half. They’re going to have to find a way to shut down the Vikings rushing attack while at the same time figuring out how to put some points on the board in a hurry. The receivers in particular are going to have to bring up their level of play and start winning some of their 1 on 1 matchups or else Minnesota will keep playing man coverage on the outside and Josh Freeman is going to see the turf of the Metrodome up close and personal a lot more in the 2nd half.