Present and Past Combine for a Big Bucs Effort in 38-28 Win

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Finally. After seven tries the Buccaneers finally got it right on Sunday, getting their first win of 2009 beating an old division foe in the Green Bay Packers 38-28 at Raymond James Stadium. The team had plenty to celebrate on this day, as they celebrated their new Ring of Honor with placing their first former player in it – Lee Roy Selmon.

They also at halftime paid honor to the 1979 division champion club, and it seemed to put a sense of excitment into the stadium as the Bucs rallied from a 28-17 deficit in the third quarter to rally for the much needed win.

The day also pointed to the future, as rookie QB Josh Freeman started, playing a solid game, making plays as he looks to be the player to lead the Bucs into the future. He was 14-for-31 for 205 yards with three touchdowns and one pick with a QB rating of 86.1. He outplayed Aaron Rodgers, who was 17-for-35 for 266 yards with two TD’s and three interceptions.

“I didn’t get too high or two low,” Freeman said. “I can’t say I did anything spectacular. I just played within myself, and when we had opportunities I took them.” He became the youngest quarterback ever to start a game for the Bucs, and it was worth it.

It also was worth it for Bucs coach Raheem Morris, who won his first game of his coaching career. “That’s a great start to how we want to be, how we want to work, how we want to play,” said Morris.

The Bucs won with a great effort from their defense, which sacked Rodgers six times and returned a pick late for a score which sealed the win. They also had a blocked punt for a score, and an 83-yard kickoff return by Clifton Smith that set up a score to close their 28-17 deficit to 28-24.

Down four, the Bucs took the lead for good when Freeman went 7 yards to Sammie Stroughter on fourth-and-4 for the go-ahead TD with under 5 minutes to play. Tanard Jackson then picked off Rodgers and instead of going to the ground with under a minute left went 35 yards to a clinching TD.

It was a much needed win and hopefully a positive sign of things to come for a team that needed to show some fire, and they did it vs a team that no one felt they could beat.


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