Final

Packers 28

(4-4, 2-2 away)

Buccaneers 38

(1-7, 1-4 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, November 8, 2009

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL 

1 2 3 4 T
GB 14 7 0 728
TB 7 10 0 2138

Top Performers

Passing: A. Rodgers (GB) - 266 YDS, 2 TD, 3 INT

Rushing: R. Grant (GB) - 21 CAR, 96 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: J. Jones (GB) - 4 REC, 103 YDS, 1 TD

Freeman leads winless Bucs past Pack in first pro start

Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- Wearing one of those ghastly creamsicle jerseys that are an ugly reminder of Tampa Bay's past, rookie Josh Freeman gave the struggling Buccaneers plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future.

Fourth-Quarter Drive

A late rally led the Bucs to their first victory of the season Sunday. Here's a look at how Tampa Bay fared vs. Green Bay in the fourth quarter:

GB TB
Points 7 21
Sacks 0 4
Time of poss. 10:09 4:51
Avg. start GB 24 GB 43
4th downs 0-2 1-1

The third quarterback selected in this year's NFL draft led the previously winless Bucs to a 38-28 victory over the Green Bay Packers in his first start Sunday, ending the league's longest losing streak at 11 games.

Playing with poise that belied his inexperience, Freeman passed for 205 yards and three touchdowns, including a 7-yard throw to Sammie Stroughter on fourth-and-4 for the go-ahead TD with under 5 minutes to play.

"I felt really relaxed," said Freeman, the 17th pick in the draft and the third quarterback taken behind Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez.

Fast Facts

• The Bucs snapped an 11-game losing streak dating back to last season, becoming the last team in the NFL to get a win this season.

• Tampa Bay scored 21 unanswered points in the final 11:34 to rally for the victory.

• Rookie QB Josh Freeman was 14-for-31 with 205 yards, three TDs and an interception in his first career start.

• Raheem Morris earned his first career win as a head coach.

• Aaron Rodgers tied a career high with three INTs. He threw just two picks in his first seven games of the season.

• Rapid Reaction

-- ESPN Stats & Information

"I didn't get too high or two low," the 21-year-old said. "I can't say I did anything spectacular. I just played within myself, and when we had opportunities I took them."

Freeman became the youngest quarterback to open a game for the Bucs, who have had 10 different players start at the position since winning the Super Bowl seven seasons ago. He's the third this year.

"That's a great start to how we want to be, how we want to work, how we want to play," said the 33-year-old Raheem Morris, who has known Freeman since the rookie was a freshman at Kansas State and Morris was the defensive coordinator there.

"However you do it, it's impressive. His age really doesn't matter at this point. ... He's got to lead us to where we've got to go."

Freeman completed 14 of 31 passes with just one interception. A critical second pick by Green Bay's A.J. Hawk was wiped out by an illegal contact penalty against Hawk during Tampa Bay's go-ahead drive.

Three plays later, Freeman threw 29 yards to Michael Clayton to set up his second TD pass of the day.

"He kept his composure and made plays," Packers linebacker Nick Barnett said.

The Bucs (1-7) are the last team in the NFL to win this season, ending a skid that was the franchise's longest since 1976-77 when they dropped an NFL-record 26 in a row wearing the uniforms the team donned against the Packers.

Aaron Rodgers threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns for Green Bay (4-4). The league's top-rated passer also threw three interceptions and had one returned for a TD that put the game out of reach in the final minute.

Rodgers was also sacked six times, hiking Green Bay's NFL-worst total to 37 in eight games.

"It's pretty frustrating," Rodgers said. "I think our offense and special teams put our defense in a tough position."

In addition to wearing retro uniforms, the Bucs made Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon the first inductee into the Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium. They trailed 21-17 during the halftime ceremony, but Freeman refused to let them lose.

The rookie threw second-half TD passes to Kellen Winslow and Stroughter, a seventh-round draft pick who was wide open in the right corner of the end zone with 4:14 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Freeman's 2-point conversion pass to Clayton put the Bucs up 31-28. The defense, which had all of its sacks after halftime, ensured victory when Tanard Jackson picked off Rodgers and -- instead of going to the ground with under a minute left -- weaved 35 yards to a clinching TD.

Rodgers threw a 74-yard TD pass to James Jones on Green Bay's second play from scrimmage, then led an 11-play, 69-yard march that Ryan Grant finished with a 3-yard run that made it 14-7 late in the opening quarter.

Cornerback Elbert Mack, beaten badly on Jones' long touchdown, returned one of Tampa Bay's interceptions 36 yards to the Packers 8 to set up Freeman's first pro TD pass, a 6-yarder to Derrick Ward.

Trailing 14-7, Tampa Bay's Geno Hayes blocked a punt that Ronde Barber scooped up and ran 31 yards for his 14th career touchdown. Freeman led a 74-yard field goal drive just before the half, trimming Tampa Bay's deficit to 21-17.

Rodgers looked like he might have put the game away when he scrambled 12 yards on third-and-goal to give Green Bay a 28-17 lead.

But Clifton Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 83 yards to set up Freeman's 7-yard TD pass to Winslow and spark the comeback.

The loss was the second straight for Green Bay, which fell to Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings the week before.

"It doesn't feel good. This one definitely hurt," coach Mike McCarthy said. "I'm disappointed in the way we played. We have some recurring problems that we have not cleaned up yet."

Game notes


Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber got his 13th career return touchdown on a blocked punt. Barber is tied for the third-most return touchdowns all time. He trails Deion Sanders (19) and Rod Woodson (17) for the most return touchdowns in NFL history. ... Green Bay running back Ahman Green gained 45 yards rushing and has 8,208 yards rushing with the Packers, surpassing Hall of Famer Jim Taylor (8,207) for the most rushing yards in franchise history. ... Bucs WR Antonio Bryant was inactive because of a sore left knee. ... Jones finished with four receptions for 103 yards for Green Bay. Grant rushed for 96 yards on 21 attempts. ... Packers RT Mark Tauscher (knee) played for the first time this season, but was not able to finish the game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
GB
TB
1st Downs2017
Passing 1st downs
1012
Rushing 1st downs
103
1st downs from Penalties
02
3rd down efficiency
5-143-12
4th down efficiency
0-21-1
Total Plays7357
Total Yards404279
Yards per play5.54.9
Total Drives1514
Passing234198
Comp - Att
17-3514-31
Yards per pass
6.76.4
Interceptions thrown
31
Sacks - Yards Lost
6-321-7
Rushing17081
Rushing Attempts
3225
Yards per rush
5.33.2
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-23-3
Penalties5-352-15
Turnovers31
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
31
Defensive / Special Teams TDs02
Possession35:1724:43

Passing Leaders

GBC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Rodgers17/352667.6236-32
TBC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Freeman14/312056.6311-7

Rushing Leaders

GBCARYDSAVGTDLG
Grant21964.6120
Green6457.5026
TBCARYDSAVGTDLG
Williams16563.508
Freeman4205.0011

Receiving Leaders

GBRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Jones410325.81746
Driver47117.81329
TBRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Winslow45714.31225
Ward35418.01383

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERGBTB
gbTD12:15James Jones 74 Yd Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby Kick) 70
tbTD08:45Derrick Ward 6 Yd Pass From Josh Freeman (Connor Barth Kick) 77
gbTD02:39Ryan Grant 2 Yd Run (Mason Crosby Kick) 147
SECOND QUARTERGBTB
tbTD11:59Ronde Barber 31 Yd Return Of Blocked Punt (Connor Barth Kick) 1414
gbTD07:38Donald Driver 32 Yd Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby Kick) 2114
tbFG00:06Connor Barth 38 Yd 2117
FOURTH QUARTERGBTB
gbTD12:54Aaron Rodgers 12 Yd Run (Mason Crosby Kick) 2817
tbTD11:34Kellen Winslow 7 Yd Pass From Josh Freeman (Two-Point Pass Conversion Failed) 2823
tbTD04:14Sammie Stroughter 7 Yd Pass From Josh Freeman (Josh Freeman Pass To Michael Clayton For Two-Point Conversion) 2831
tbTD00:35Tanard Jackson 35 Yd Interception Return (Connor Barth Kick) 2838