The Bucs defense found themselves up against the wall for the majority of the game. After some key plays on defense and special teams, Tampa Bay sent the Chargers back to San Diego with a 34-24 loss on Sunday. Philip Rivers and the Chargers struck first just three plays into the game. A 10-yard pass to Danario Alexander turned into an 80-yard catch and run when he broke free from Bucs’ cornerback Leonard Johnson tackle where Alexander’s knee never hit the ground. On the ensuing Buccaneers’ possession, a Josh Freeman touchdown pass from three yards out to tight end Dallas Clark tied the game 7-7. The touchdown was set up by a dump off to Doug Martin that he turned into a 42 yard reception. San Diego marched right back down the field where Rivers connected with tight end Antonio Gates, putting the Chargers back on top 14-7. A Connor Barth field goal would cut the deficit to 14-10 in the second quarter. But the Bucs would get the lead when linebacker Dekoda Watson blocked a Chargers punt attempt which allowed special teams captain Adam Hayward to scoop it up and take it in for the go ahead touchdown. The Chargers would take a 21-17 lead into the half after an eight minute touchdown drive left the Bucs with barely any time remaining in the second quarter. In the third quarter, Josh Freeman connected with wide receiver Tiquan Underwood for a 15-yard touchdown to put the Bucs ahead 24-21. The Bucs would add another touchdown when undrafted rookie Leonard Johnson intercepted a pass from Rivers that was thrown right to him and took it 83-yards for the touchdown. That is Johnson’s third interception in the last three games. With the score 31-24 with under four minutes left, Philip Rivers would be sacked by Bucs’ defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim. On the following play, the Tampa Bay defensive front pressured Rivers into another interception this time by LeQuan Lewis. Tampa Bay would go on to kick a field goal with just over a minute left to seal the game 34-24. Scary situation in the third quarter for Bucs linebacker Quincy Black made a helmet to helmet hit on Chargers running back Ryan Matthews. Black would remain on the ground motionless to later be carted off on a stretcher. Coach Schiano said after the game that Black would be fine. The team will further evaluate him on Monday. NOTES Josh Freeman finished the game 14-20 for 210 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 137.5. Doug Martin had 119 total yards (68 rushing, 51 receiving). He has 100+ total yards in the last five games. The Bucs defense recorded two sacks (Mason Foster, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim) and two interceptions (Leonard Johnson, LeQuan Lewis). Tampa Bay is 11-3 when Freeman has a passer rating of 100+. With his two touchdown passes Sunday, he has now gone 12 straight games with at least one touchdown pass dating back to last season. The post Defense, special teams carry Bucs in win over San Diego appeared first on The Bay Cave.