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Buccaneers vs. Broncos 2012: Tampa Bay OL struggles in defeat

Tampa Bay's offensive line had a tough time with the Denver defense. The Bucs' ground game was limited, and quarterback Josh Freeman faced a lot of pressure.

US PRESSWIRE

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers weren't able to keep up with Denver on Sunday and fell to the Broncos, 31-23. Part of the problem for Tampa Bay, as Bucs Nation explained after the game, was its offensive line:

The Broncos defensive line was too much for an injury-riddled offensive line. Losing its two starting Pro Bowl guards was bound to be an issue, and the Broncos really had the quality to exploit that weakness. Doug Martin couldn't find any running room, ending the game with 18 carries for 56 yards, while Freeman was hit repeatedly, causing him to throw a number of inaccurate passes.

The Bucs ran for just 71 yards in the game and averaged 3.4 yards per carry. The pressure Freeman faced led to an inefficient passing performance -- he completed 18 of 39 pass attempts and threw an interception. That interception came with the team already down 11 points and it was returned for a touchdown, giving Denver a 28-10 lead in the third quarter.

Tampa Bay cut the margin to 31-23 late in the fourth quarter but was not able to recover an onside kick, and Denver proceeded to run out the clock.

The loss drops the Bucs' record to 6-6 overall and they are now a game behind Seattle in the race for the last NFC Wild Card spot.

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Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.