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Freeman trumps Brees; Bucs take over NFC South lead with 26-20 victory

Post game quotes: “Really, that’s just always our mentality,” Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, who had 303 passing yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions, said. “You know, we don’t buy into all the hype. We took a step back (last week) and we just prepare to do everything exactly the same.”

“It’s not a redemption thing,” Bucs head coach Raheem Morris said. “I had a lot of confidence in this team bouncing back, and I know you guys wrote us off for dead last week. I know this is a tough team.”

“We felt that wasn’t us last week for whatever reason,” Bucs running back Earnest Graham, who had 17 rushes for 109 yards, said. “We left that on the field. We left it there. We left it in San Francisco. We came out, and we knew we had a chance today to play for first place. We had the Saints coming in. We didn’t have time to sulk about it.”

“It feels great,” Bucs safety reinstated safety Tanard Jackson, who in his first game in over a year, recorded his first interception since ’09 said. “It’s just a great opportunity for me to get back with my teammates and help us get a win. That was the most important thing for me. I wanted to play well. The most important thing for me today was to get a win and we did that.”

Final thoughts: Whenever you pick off Drew Brees three times, and produce a turnover differential of plus-four; you deserve to win the game.  The defense has shown signs of growth, especially the foundation, the front four, and the offense didn’t skip a beat without LeGarrette Blount.  Also, good to see Arrelious Benn with a big-play touchdown (65-yard hookup with Freeman to put club ahead 10-7 in second quarter) not get called back.  Lastly, E.J. Biggers played on a Pro Bowl-caliber level; generating four tackles (three solo), four passes defense, and one interception.  Now, let’s find out what the Bucs are made of, when they play away from Raymond James next week against the Bears.

Next: 4-2 Buccaneers vs. Chicago Bears in London, Sunday October 23, NOON CT.

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