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NFL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Arizona
(Sunday, October 31st)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 38, Arizona 35
Glendale, AZ (Sports Network) - Josh Freeman completed 18-of-25 passes for 278 yards and a touchdown and directed his sixth fourth-quarter comeback win to lead Tampa Bay to a wild, 38-35, victory over Arizona at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Freeman has won eight of the 17 games NFL he has started, with four of his come-from-behind wins coming during the 2010 season.
LeGarrette Blount carried 22 times for a career-best 120 yards and two scores for the Buccaneers (5-2), who won their second straight to forge a tie for the top spot in the NFC South with Atlanta, their opponent next week.
Mike Williams caught four passes for 105 yards and a score for the visitors, who equaled a franchise record with their fifth straight road win.
"A very good win for a resilient young team," Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris said. "Things don't always work out like they're supposed to. We didn't play smart enough today but we were able to overcome some things because of our core beliefs and our values. We have to learn how to keep control of that kind of game. A win like that is going to go a long way with this football team."
Derek Anderson completed 16-of-24 throws for 234 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions after replacing starter Max Hall, who went 8-of-16 for 71 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions for the Cardinals (3-4), who suffered a second straight loss since returning from their bye week.
"We're not getting what we need out of the quarterback position right now," Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "That position is not getting the production we need and we're going to take a hard look at it."
Beanie Wells carried 16 times for 50 yards and a touchdown while Larry Fitzgerald made six catches for 72 yards and a pair of scores for Arizona, which has lost six of the last eight matchups with Tampa Bay. Steve Breaston added eight catches for a career-best 147 yards in defeat.
Arizona regained the lead with 9:41 remaining in the game on Fitzgerald's second score of the day that finished off a brief four-play, 48-yard set. He caught a screen pass to the right, slashed inside and dragged a defender into the end zone to make it 35-31.
After Freeman kept the ensuing drive going with a successful sneak on 4th-and- inches, he went up top to Arrelious Benn on the next play for 53 yards to get the ball to the Arizona one-yard line. Blount then powered in over the left side on the next play to put the Bucs back on top, 38-35, with 5:13 to play.
Arizona turned it over on its next offensive play when Anderson was intercepted by a diving Barrett Rudd after a crunching hit by Geno Hayes dislodged the ball from LaRod Stephens-Howling.
Freeman was sacked for a loss of 14 on third down before Connor Barth's 53- yard field goal attempt was blocked with just under 3 1/2 minutes to go.
The Cardinals took over at their own 43 and moved to the Bucs 20 before Aqib Talib stepped in front of Fitzgerald and picked off Anderson inside the 10.
On first down from his own six, Blount ripped off a 48-yard run up the middle, as he spun away from a defender in the backfield and then hurdled another at the 10 to break away and get the Bucs to the Arizona 46 at the two minute warning.
Tampa Bay was eventually forced to punt and the Cardinals took over at their own 13 with 55 seconds to play. Anderson was sacked on second down and fumbled, but it was recovered by offensive lineman Levi Brown at the 13 to keep the drive going. Anderson was able to complete two passes to Fitzgerald to get the ball to midfield but time expired.
The hosts scored on their second possession when Hall threw his first career scoring pass from three yards out to Fitzgerald in the back of the end zone.
On the next Arizona series, Hall delivered just as he was being hit by blitzing safety Sean Jones, and Geno Hayes was able to pick off the fluttering pass and returned it 41 yards down the right side to even the score with 4:15 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Cardinals regained the lead with 10:17 left in the half on a one-yard plunge by Wells to finish a four-play, 16-yard drive. The go-ahead score was set up by Sammie Stroughter's muffed punt that was recovered by Stephens- Howling.
Tampa Bay tied the game at 14 just 1:18 later on Freeman's career-long 47-yard strike down the middle to Williams on a post pattern. The visitors needed only three plays, including a 31-yard catch and run by Williams on the first offering, to move 80 yards for the equalizer.
On the ensuing Cardinals drive, Talib jumped an out route on the left sideline, made a leaping pick in front of Breaston and took it back 45 yards for a touchdown to give the Bucs their first lead of the day with 6 1/2 minutes remaining in the half.
That prompted the change at quarterback as Anderson took over for Hall on the next Arizona possession.
The veteran signal-caller immediately led the hosts to the three-yard line before Breaston dropped a pass in the back of the end zone on 4th-and-2. Anderson's throw hit off the helmet of guard Alan Faneca after the Cardinals had to hurry to the line of scrimmage to get the ball snapped before the play clock expired.
The Bucs took over and advanced all the way to the Cardinals three before an incompletion stopped the clock with five ticks left. Barth came on to knock in a 21-yard field goal on the final play of the half to make it 24-14.
Tampa Bay added it to its lead with 4 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter on Blount's 15-yard burst into the end zone. Freeman's 21-yard scamper on the prior play highlighted an eight-play, 80-yard drive that began after the Cardinals failed to down a Ben Graham punt inside the five-yard line that went for a touchback.
Stephens-Howling bounced outside and down the left sideline for his first career rushing TD to bring the Cardinals back to within 31-21 with 56 seconds to play in the period. The scoring run capped a seven-play, 76-yard march.
Blount fumbled on the Bucs' next play from scrimmage, and Gerald Hayes was there to pick up the loose ball and rumble into the end zone from 21 yards away to trim the deficit to three just 23 seconds later. The play was upheld by review, leaving the Bucs without any further challenges.
Tampa Bay leads the all-time series, 9-8, and won in Phoenix for the first time since 1998...Blount topped the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career...Cadillac Williams, who caught the game-winning TD pass for the Bucs last week, ran four times for 10 yards and caught three passes for 26 yards...Stephens-Howling toted four times for 41 yards...Early Doucet made four catches for 39 yards in a losing cause.
10/31 22:39:40 ET