Remember all that stuff we wrote today about the road team having a big disadvantage in Thursday night games?
Well, forget about it.
The Vikings are playing like the road-weary team, helping the Buccaneers to a 20-7 halftime lead with two poor punts by Chris Kluwe and fumbles by Jerome Simpson and Adrian Peterson. Kluwe's worst half in memory, which included a 20-yard shank out of bounds, gave the Bucs the ball at the Tampa Bay 42 and the Vikings' 48-yard line. That was good for a Connor Barth 27-yard field goal and a 1-yard touchdown pass from Josh Freeman to fullback Erik Long.
At that point, a really, REALLY obnoxious Vikings fan was standing in front of the press box screaming "HEY MUSGRAVE! THREE-AND-OUT!"
But sometimes, three-and-out isn't the worst thing that can happen. After three straight three-and-outs and an 0-for-5 passing start for Christian Ponder, Ponder finally completed a 4-yard pass to Simpson. But then Simpson lost it and the Bucs got the ball at their 46. Ten plays later, Barth kicked a 40-yarder for a 13-0 lead.
That's when Percy Harvin, the team's MVP of the first half of the season (and maybe the league's as well) turned some bad football into at least one drive of good football. He caught a bubble screen and went 32 yards. Then he ran under an 18-yard touchdown pass, catching it over his right shoulder.
After a Tampa Bay three-and-out, Peterson lost his first fumble of the season. Tampa Bay got the ball at the Vikings' 37 and rode little (but fast and powerful) rookie running back Doug Martin into the red zone. On third-and-goal from the 3, Freeman hit Mike Williams in the back of the end zone over the smaller cornerback Josh Robinson.
The Vikings closed to within 10 when Blair Walsh kicked a 51-yard field goal with 1:40 left in what was an ugly half for the home team.
By the way, road teams traveling on a short week the past two seasons are a combined 3-12. The Bucs are poised go against that trend.