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Bucs beat Chargers, 34-24

It's Game Day! The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are right in the playoff race and to keep their hopes alive, they need to beat the San Diego Chargers at home today. Can their explosive offense keep it going, and will their defense be able to contain Philip Rivers? We'll find out today!

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21 Total Updates since November 11, 2012
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10 Things We Think We Learned - Bucs vs Chargers

The Bucs moved to 5-4 with a thrilling victory over the San Diego Chargers. It was a game that saw the Bucs offense cooled off, yet Tampa Bay still find a way to win. But what did we learn?

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Bucs beat Chargers 34-24 with team effort

Tampa Bay managed a defensive, special teams and two offensive touchdowns to beat the San Diego Chargers 34-24 for their fifth win of the season.

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Philip Rivers throws pick six to Leonard Johnson

The Tampa Bay pass defense has been eyesore all game, but undrafted rookie (!) Leonard Johnson just made up for a lot of big holes with one big interception returned for a touchdown. That's Johson's third interception in three games, and he's been one of the few bright spots at cornerback this season.

Meanwhile, the defensive line made that play happen, too, chasing Rivers out of the pocket, who then made an awful decision to essentially gift Johnson that interception.

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Quincy Black carted off with apparent head injury

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have suffered their second injury of the game. Eric Wright went out of the game with an ankle injury earlier today, and Quincy Black was carted off with an apparent head injury just now. Black hit Mathews helmet to helmet on a tackle, and appeared to lost consciousness immediately. Black was able to wave while on the cart, but he should be out for at least the game, and likely longer.

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Buccaneers re-take lead, go ahead 24-21 over SD

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just re-took the lead over the San Diego Chargers. It took a fourth-down conversion, but Josh Freeman was once again efficient and accurate, finishing the drive with a touchdown to Tiquan Underwood.

Freeman is now 12/17 for 191 yards and two touchdowns, and he's having a great game. Will the Bucs win, though? Their defense will have to get a few stops against a red-hot Philip Rivers.

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Chargers take 20-17 lead at halftime over Bucs

The Tampa Bay pass defense is awful. Philip Rivers has completed 16 of 18 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns at the half, for a perfect passer rating of 156.7. Yep, Rivers is slicing up a secondary. The main culprit has been Antonio Gates, who has caught 4 passes for 57 yards, while Danario Alexander made Leonard Johnson look silly on an 80-yard touchdown pass. Johnson missed an easy 10-yard tackle, letting him run toward the endzone.

Still, the Buccaneer offense has kept pace, keeping it a one-score game. Josh Freeman has been no slouch, completing 6 of 10 for 118 yards and a touchdown. Special teams even contributed, as Adam Hayward returned a blocked punt for a touchdown.

The Bucs will try to win this game in the second half. Can they do it?

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GIF: Mike Scifres gets killed by Bucs

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sure know how to block punts, this isn't their first rodeo. Dekoda Watson comes in clean as the San Diego blocking scheme just messes up. That's a blocking scheme devised by former Tampa Bay special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, by the way, but Bisaccia shunned the Bucs to years ago to join San Diego. At least the Bucs are getting some revenge for that.

Notable here: the Bucs have consistently messed with opponents' protection scheme on punts, their only real strength on special teams this year.

Plus, San Diego punter Mike Scifres was injured on that punt, which could be an issue for San Diego going forward. Bucs lead 17-14 right now.

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Blocked punt gives Buccaneers 17-14 lead

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have just taken the lead! After giving up two touchdowns on their first two drives, the pass defense has held up and forced two punts on the subsequent San Diego drives. That last punt was blocked by Dekoda Watson, and returned for a touchdown by Adam Hayward.

Tampa Bay's special teams may have been iffy this year, punt block units have been outstanding. This has been their fourth blocked (or touched) punt this year, and their first touchdown return off a punt. Greg Schiano always emphasizes punt blocks, and it appears to be working.

In addition, San Diego punter Mike Scifres was injured on the punt block, which may cause some more issues for the Chargers in this game.

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Eric Wright leaves game with ankle injury

An already weak secondary just got a little weaker. Starting cornerback Eric Wright has left the game with an ankle injury and is questionable to return, so say the Bucs.

Philip Rivers has been slicing up this defense, and missing their best cornerback won't help them stop the veteran quarterback.

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Antonio Gates gashes Bucs for 14-7 lead

The Bucs can't stop the Chargers' pass offense apparently. After giving up an 80-yard strike on the third play of the game, Tampa Bay allowed the Chargers to march down the field on another 80-yard drive. This time, Antonio Gates turned out to be the unstoppable man, getting two catching for 46 yards, a touchdown and adding a first down on a holding penalty against Ronde Barber.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to find a way to stop Antonio Gates, because neither Mark Barron nor Ronde Barber appear capable of slowing him down.

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Bucs tie game after efficient, 80-yard drive

Dallas Clark has consistently become a big part of this offense, and he just caught the tying touchdown. Doug Martin was the big man on this game, though, contributing 62 of the 80 total yards, most of it on one 42-yard catch-and-run.

Josh Freeman once again looked calm and efficient, going 4 of 5 for 57 yards and a touchdown. This game has the looks of a shootout.

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Bucs give up 80-yard TD on third play of game

Well, that game didn't start according to script. The Bucs forced a 3rd-and-10 situation, but promptly gave up an 80-yard touchdown. This one certainly was new, though: a quick slant was caught by Danario Alexander against Leonard Johnson. The latter thought he had the tackle, but Alexander's knee never touched, and he was free to walk in to ehe endzone.

The Bucs' explosive endzone gets the chance to bull their way into the endzone now.

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