Rams lose thriller to Bucs 18-17 - KMOV.com

Rams lose thriller to Bucs 18-17

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount (27) runs over St. Louis Rams safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (21) during the first quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Margaret Bowles) By Margaret Bowles Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount (27) runs over St. Louis Rams safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (21) during the first quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Margaret Bowles) By Margaret Bowles
St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) eludes a tackle by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Quincy Black (58) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) By Chris O'Meara St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) eludes a tackle by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Quincy Black (58) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) By Chris O'Meara
Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback E.J. Biggers (31) knocks the ball away from St. Louis Rams wide receiver Brandon Gibson (11) during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco) By Brian Blanco Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback E.J. Biggers (31) knocks the ball away from St. Louis Rams wide receiver Brandon Gibson (11) during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco) By Brian Blanco
St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Jermelle Cudjo (93) sacks Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco) By Brian Blanco St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Jermelle Cudjo (93) sacks Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco) By Brian Blanco

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- As he does so often, Josh Freeman saved his best for last.

Tampa Bay's second-year quarterback led another fourth-quarter rally, throwing a 1-yard touchdown pass to Cadillac Williams with 10 seconds remaining Sunday to give the Buccaneers an 18-17 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

Connor Barth kicked four field goals for the Bucs (4-2), who trailed 17-3 before battling back to surpass their win total for last season.

Sam Bradford threw two short touchdown passes and Steven Jackson became the Rams' all-time leading rusher before things unraveled for St. Louis (3-4). Jackson finished with 110 yards on 22 carries, hiking his career total to 7,324.

Freeman, the third quarterback selected in the 2009 draft, has led fourth-quarter comebacks in five of seven career victories.

Bradford threw TD passes of 5 yards to Danny Amendola and 2 yards to Michael Hoomanawanui to build an early lead that held up until Freeman marched the Bucs 81 yards in 16 plays to finally get the ball into the end zone.

Freeman completed 23 of 40 passes for 212 yards and no interceptions. He kept the winning drive alive with a 9-yard throw to Kellen Winslow on fourth-and-3, then used a 20-yard completion to Mike Williams to get the ball to the St. Louis 1.

Rolling to his right, Freeman found Williams running through the middle of the end zone for the TD on second down.

Barth kicked field goals of 35, 39, 53 and 38 yards.

A week after joining Dickerson and Marshall Faulk as the only runners with at least 25 100-yard rushing performances for the Rams, Jackson moved ahead of Dickerson, who gained 7,245 from 1983-87, on a 3-yard carry to midfield.

Amendola scooted 21 yards on an end around on the next play, and Jackson broke a 12-yard run to set Bradford's short TD throw to Amendola to finish an 80-yard drive that put St. Louis up 10-3 midway through the second quarter.

Hoomanawanui's touchdown, three plays after the Rams took a field goal off the board when Tampa Bay's Ronde Barber was penalized for being offside, made it 17-3.

The Bucs played without three injured offensive starters -- center Jeff Faine, guard Keyrick Vincent and fullback Earnest Graham -- as well as reserve tight end Jerramy Stevens, who was arrested Saturday night and charged with marijuana possession.

They were extremely sloppy early, setting the tone for a long day when two penalties and a sack left Freeman facing second-and-goal from the St. Louis 35 after Stylez G. White sacked Bradford, forcing a first-quarter fumble that the Bucs recovered at the 6-yard line.

Jackson gained 74 yards on 12 carries in the first half. The Bucs slowed him in the second half, in part because Freeman finally got the offense on track.

Tampa Bay held the ball for nearly 11 minutes of the third quarter, and another 6:33 of the final period.

Bradford finished 13 of 26 for 126 yards and no interceptions. He was sacked once.

Rookie LeGarrette Blount was one of the keys to Tampa Bay's comeback. He rushed for 72 yards and 11 carries and had a 46-yard run nullified by a penalty.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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