Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/24/12
TAMPA -- The St. Louis Rams' defense stifled the ailing Tampa Bay Buccaneers, sacking Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman five times and intercepting four of his passes in a 28-13 win Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. The Rams defense intercepted Freeman four times, three times capitalizing with touchdowns. Early the second quarter, Janoris Jenkins intercepted a Freeman pass and took the return 41 yards for a touchdown. The rookie cornerback's fourth defensive score of the season put St. Louis on top 7-3, and the Rams (7-7-1) never trailed again. With 3:38 left in the first half, Freeman attempted to hit Vincent Jackson underneath but was picked off by James Laurinaitis at the St. Louis 35-yard line. At the end of a nine-play drive, Steven Jackson took an inside handoff 5 yards, lunging his body across the goal line for a touchdown that put the Rams up 14-6 just before halftime. Rookie cornerback Trumaine Johnson stepped in front of Mike Williams on an in-route early in the third quarter, intercepting Freeman at the Tampa Bay 30. Six plays later, Sam Bradford connected with Austin Pettis over the middle for a 5-yard touchdown, putting the Rams up 28-6. Eugene Sims finished off a banner day for the Rams' defense, intercepting a pass tipped by teammate Michael Brockers with 8:03 left in the fourth quarter. Bradford completed 13 of 27 passes for 196 yards passing, two touchdowns and one interception. He threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to tight end Lance Kendricks on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. Kendricks led the Rams with four receptions for 119 yards. After failing to score a touchdown last week against the Saints and then in the first half against the Rams, the Buccaneers' offense snapped its end-zone drought with a 61-yard catch-and-run from Williams with 9:06 remaining in the third quarter. Williams had seven catches for 132 yards, and Vincent Jackson added seven catches for 108 yards for the Buccaneers (6-9). Freeman completed 30 of 54 passes for 372 yards and one touchdown. The Rams held the Bucs rookie running back Doug Martin to 62 yards on 18 carries. NOTES: Despite missing practice all week with a thigh injury, Courtland Finnegan started at left cornerback for the Rams. He finished with three tackles. ... Bucs receiver Tiquan Underwood left the game in the first quarter with a back injury, but he returned. ... Bucs cornerback E.J. Biggers left the game in the second quarter with a groin injury and did not return. ... Tampa Bay cornerback Leonard Johnson left the game with an arm injury before returning to action. ... Rams safety Craig Dahl left the game with a shoulder injury. ... Bucs guard Jeremy Zuttah left the game with an ankle injury. ... Steven Jackson's touchdown was the 56th of his career, tying him with Eric Dickerson for second-most touchdowns in Rams history.
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