Taking Record of the Record Setter: Breaking Down All of Josh Freeman’s 2012 Touchdowns

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Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Touchdown 17 – Week 10 versus San Diego, First Quarter

The Chargers were afraid of Doug Martin near the goal line (and who can blame them?), so Josh Freeman faked a handoff, rolled out, and found Dallas Clark in the end zone. Easy.

Touchdown 18 – Week 10 versus San Diego, Third Quarter

This touchdown required a bit more effort and precision from Josh Freeman, and he was more than capable. Tiquan Underwood was one of three wide receivers on the play, and Freeman was in the shotgun (I told you!). Underwood cuts inside, running right at a zone linebacker patrolling the middle of the field. He gets behind the linebacker and cuts behind his back, and Freeman delivered a perfect pass as he broke from behind the defender. The Buccaneer with the best flat top then walked in for a score.

Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Touchdown 19 – Week 11 versus Carolina, First Quarter

The Buccaneers were a very good first quarter scoring team in 2012, and this was yet another example. Josh Freeman and the offense were lined up in a jumbo package, and Nate Byham goes in motion. He winds up on the right side of the play, and streaks upfield, bumping into Luke Stocker in the process. This didn’t stop Byham, who got to the back of the end zone and cut across, right around the time that Josh Freeman was about to be sacked. Freeman let go of a pass to the back of the end zone, smartly getting rid of the ball to a less risky situation, as the worst case scenario was likely an incompletion out the back of the end zone. Instead, Byham was where he was supposed to be, and Freeman’s rushed throw wound up being the right throw.

Touchdown 20 – Week 11 versus Carolina, Fourth Quarter

This was Josh Freeman’s best moment in 2012. The Buccaneers were down 8 with 20 seconds left, and had the ball 24 yards away from paydirt. Vincent Jackson was lined up in the slot, and ran to the post. Luke Kuechly picked him up to start, and other defensive backs were there to converge once Jackson got deep enough. But the timing for the Buccaneers was perfect, and as Josh Freeman threw the ball at the last possible second facing the pass rush, Jackson was in a perfect window where only an outpaced Kuechly had any hope of stopping Jackson from catching the pass. The throw was perfectly timed and perfectly placed, as Jackson was able to pluck it out of the air over Luke, and held on despite the young linebacker’s attempts to strip it away.

Touchdown 20.2 – Week 11 versus Carolina – Two Point Conversion

Luke Kuechly was victimized once again on the next play, as the Buccaneers went for two to tie the game. After a timeout, the Buccaneers came out with Jackson lined up in the slot once again. This time, the Panthers lined up Captain Munnerlyn on Jackson, but he allowed the Bucs’ best receiver to get inside of him and present a 6’5″ target for Josh Freeman. The thought of the broadcasters commenting on the action was that Luke Kuechly was supposed to drop into coverage to help Munnerlyn, but he was gobbled up by a playaction fake, and wasn’t there to defend an easy throw to an open Vincent Jackson.

Touchdown 21 – Week 11 versus Carolina, Overtime

The Bucs got the ball first in overtime, and marched right down the field. 15 yards away from a victory, they lined up in the 3-wide shotgun that they enjoy so much. Dallas Clark was also on the field, lined up to the left of left tackle Donald Penn. He would jaunt out into the flat, like he usually does, but then absolutely embarrassed James Anderson by cutting upfield, leaving the Panthers’ linebacker in his wake. Freeman saw the open receiver, and delivered a high strike to Clark, who managed to tap his toes after going up to make the catch at the pylon.

Touchdown 22 – Week 13 versus Denver, First Quarter

This play was a positive for Josh Freeman, as he delivered a positive result on the kind of play that typically resulted in an interception or mistake in other situations late in the season. With a running formation set up, the Buccaneers went with a playaction look to the right, but Doug Martin was nowhere near Josh Freeman at the time of the fake. Freeman was then under huge pressure, and rolling to his right, he put up a pass leading his slowest receiver to the right. Dallas Clark responded by shielding off his defender and staying in good position. He managed to keep his advantage long enough to haul in the pass from Freeman and put the Bucs on the board.

Touchdown 23 – Week 13 versus Denver, Fourth Quarter

3-wide shotgun. Down 15 points. The Buccaneers were just looking for some pride and some momentum, and an outside shot at another huge comeback victory. They would take a step in the right direction on this play, as Josh Freeman would find Mike Williams for six points. Williams and Vincent Jackson were both lined up to the left of the play, and Jackson immediately drove towards the post. This brought two defenders in this direction, leaving Williams on the outside with a one-on-one. Williams made a hard cut back towards the middle of the field, and his defender was unable to react accordingly. And with Jackson occupying the help over the middle, Freeman delivered a strike to Williams for a score.