Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Rapid Reaction: Bucs 26, Vikings 14

The Buccaneers got the win at home against the Minnesota Vikings, 26-14.

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The Buccaneers won the toss to start the game and deferred to the second half. It meant Minnesota's offense started with the ball and after a couple weeks of stressing a fast start, the Buccaneer defense got off the field, forcing a Minnesota punt behind a big third-down sack from outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett around midfield.

The Bucs opened with a run on first down by Ronald Jones II that went for five yards. Quarterback Tom Brady hit wide receiver Chris Godwin on the next play for a first down but Tampa Bay would stall after that and trade a punt back to Minnesota halfway through the first quarter.

The Vikings took the rest of the quarter and then some driving down the field, largely on the legs of running backs Dalvin Cook and Ameer Abdullah. The drive ended in a rushing touchdown for the former but the extra point was no good, leaving the score 6-0 with 14:17 on the clock in the second quarter.

Two incompletions on the next drive would result in a three-and-out on the next drive for the Bucs' offense. They surrendered the ball back to Minnesota after less than two minutes with Minnesota starting at their own 34.

The Vikings drove down the field once again but were stopped short by a big third-down sack of quarterback Kirk Cousins by Ndamukong Suh. Kicker Dan Bailey missed the 36-yard field goal attempt to keep the score 6-0 with about 10 minutes to go in the half.

The Bucs' next drive would prove fruitful as Brady connected with wide receiver Scotty Miller on a 48-yard deep ball touchdown. The point after was good and the Bucs took a 7-6 lead with 7:41 to go in the second quarter.

Minnesota's kicking woes would continue after the Bucs' defense forced a 54-yard field goal try that Bailey missed wide right.

It helped the Bucs' offense with some good field position as they took back over. Two penalties on Minnesota then helped them into a first and goal at the Vikings' one-yard line on the possession. From there, Jones went up and over the pile to get into the end zone. The successful point after meant a 14-6 lead for the Buccaneers with 44 seconds left in the half.

After a forced three-and-out, the Bucs ended up getting the ball back for another possession with 31 seconds left in the half. Brady ran two plays to get the Bucs to midfield before spiking the ball with one second to go. He threw the ball up for a Hail Mary pass to the end zone where tight end Rob Gronkowski was waiting, swarmed by Minnesota defenders. They were apparently too close for comfort and the referees called defensive pass interference that preserved that one second on the clock and placed the Bucs at the one-yard line. They took the field goal and went into the half with a 17-6 lead.

Tampa Bay came out firing in the third quarter, driving all the way down the field thanks to a couple crucial third-down conversions by running back LeSean McCoy. A 29-yard pass down the sideline to Mike Evans was followed by a beautiful over-the-top throw to Gronkowski in the end zone for a two-yard score. It was Succop's turn to miss an extra point though, leaving the score 23-6 with just over 10 minutes to go in the third quarter.

The Vikings answered on their next drive with a touchdown thanks to not one, but two fourth-down conversions. It ended with a 14-yard pass from Cousins to tight end Irv Smith Jr. Minnesota decided to go for two and got it to make the score 23-14 with under two minutes left in the third quarter.

The Bucs would go three-and-out on their next drive and give the ball right back to the Vikings, who got to midfield in a hurry thanks to Smith Jr. They'd get inside the red zone before being knocked back out thanks to back-to-back sacks from Antoine Winfield Jr. and Barrett. Minnesota then decided to attempt the 46-yard field goal and Bailey missed again, bringing his total to three missed field goals and a missed extra point on the day.

Tampa Bay's offense went back to work and Jones found success, getting the Bucs into Vikings' territory on a 16-yard run. They'd stall a bit but not before giving Succop the opportunity to kick a 47-yard field goal. The kick was good and the Bucs extended their lead to 26-14 with 5:16 left in the game.

The next possession wouldn't be a pretty one for Minnesota. Cousins suffered two more sacks, the first of which came from Pat O'Connor for the first sack of his career and second of which came from Jason Pierre-Paul as he stripped and then recovered the ball as Cousins was mid-throw on fourth down. It set the Buccaneers up at the Minnesota 23-yard line with 1:53 to go in the game.

Brady took a couple of knees from there and the Bucs won the game, 26-14.

View photos of Tampa Bay's Week 13 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.

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