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Buccaneers beat Chargers for third-straight win

Published On: Nov 11 2012 03:59:59 PM CST
Tampa Bay Buccaneers helmet

NFL

TAMPA, Fla. -

Josh Freeman threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Tiquan Underwood late in the third quarter and Leonard Johnson returned an interception 83 yards for a score early in the fourth as host Tampa Bay scored 17 second-half points en route to its third straight win, 34-24.

Dallas Clark had a 3-yard TD catch and Adam Hayward recovered a blocked punt and ran it back 29 yards for a score for the Buccaneers (5-4), who have won four of five overall and scored at least 34 points in each victory.

With San Diego (4-5) leading 21-17, Freeman followed a 31-yard completion to former Charger Vincent Jackson with a scoring strike to Underwood with 4:07 remaining in the third, putting Tampa Bay ahead for good.

On 3rd-and-4 with less than three minutes expired in the fourth, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers rolled to his right before making an ill-advised pass directly to Johnson, who streaked down the sideline for a 31-21 advantage. Rivers threw another interception with 3:09 remaining, which led to Connor Barth's second field goal of the day, sealing the win.

Rivers completed 29 of 37 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns - including an 80-yarder to Danario Alexander on the game's third play from scrimmage - for the Chargers, who have lost five of seven. San Diego had won all five of its previous visits to Tampa Bay.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Chargers' TE Antonio Gates' touchdown catch was the 80th of his career, putting him one behind Lance Alworth for first place on the franchise list. ... Freeman, who was 14-of-20 for 210 yards, has thrown 13 TD passes and just one interception over his last five games. ... Alexander finished with 134 yards on five catches. ... Both of San Diego's victories over its last seven contests have come against lowly Kansas City. ... Tampa Bay improved to 2-8 in the all-time series against the Chargers.