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 24 – Week 14 versus Philadelphia, Third Quarter

I’ll let you guess the formation. Give up? Three wide, shotgun. This time, It was Mike Williams left alone to the left of the play, and he was one-on-one against Nnamdi Asomugha. Nnamdi was helpless to try to defend Mike, who turned around and boxed him out like Tim Duncan or Blake Griffin waiting for a rebound against a smaller, hopeless opponent. Josh threw the ball high enough to make it impossible for Nnamdi to reach in and make a play. Six points.

Touchdown 25 – Week 14 versus Philadelphia, Fourth Quarter

Shotgun, receivers, you know the drill. Vincent Jackson is one of three Buccaneers bunched on the right side of the formation, and he runs what John Lynch referred to as an arrow route. He cut towards the sideline to start, and then spun around and came inside of the defender back towards the post. Once he gets inside the defender, he has presented Josh Freeman with his favorite target, and Freeman responds by chucking a perfect pass in the face of some pressure and Jackson gets past the defense en route to a touchdown.

Touchdown 26 – Week 16 versus St. Louis, Third Quarter

There wasn’t much by way of positive moments in this game, but this play provided the Bucs another example of how good the offense can be when it’s clicking. Mike Williams was the only receiver on the field, and the Bucs call for a playaction pass. The linebackers are absorbed into the play, and Mike Williams settles in behind them as Josh Freeman drops back. Williams then sees a wide open field and streaks into the open, and Freeman managed the pressure he was facing to deliver the necessary pass to complete the play. Williams found an opening in the defense caused by the play action, and literally had half of the football field in two directions completely open to him when he caught the football.

Touchdown 27 – Week 17 versus Atlanta, Second Quarter

Maybe Josh’s most impressive pre-throw moment of the season, the Bucs’ QB faces pressure up the middle, and spins around to give himself more time. After spinning, he’s instantly in the right position to throw again, and hasn’t lost track of the play. Instead, he finds Mike Williams, who used the extra time Freeman bought to escape Asante Samuel and get open in the back of the end zone. Oh, and the Bucs were in the shotgun, with three wide receivers.


So what can we draw from this heap of analysis and breakdown? First of all, Mike Sullivan deserves a lot of credit. He dialed up some fantastic plays for the Buccaneers all season long, so it’s no wonder that he received some interested around the league for head coaching positions. It’s clear that Sullivanfavored a 3-wide shotgun look, even in the red zone. He also liked to mix in playaction, which was useful considering the Buccaneers’ acquisition of Doug Martin allowed for the threat of the run to provide openings for the passing game.

But we also learn that Josh Freeman is able to make a wide variety of throws in key situations. He completed a fade for a touchdown, he threw a couple of deep balls to athletic receivers, and he also threw the ball over the middle to his slot receivers and timed them perfectly between defenders. Josh Freeman has the complete arsenal of NFL throws in his right arm, and there’s no reason he can’t take a step forward. But as we noticed in the article about his interceptions, he is guilty of mental mistakes and inconsistencies. So Freeman truly has a make of break season ahead of him. Luckily for him and the Bucs, he has the tools needed to be one of the best signal callers in the NFL. It’s up to him to recreate these moments next year, rather than fall back into the same mistakes that draw the ire of Bucs’ fans around the world.