NFC South High Energy Player of the Week

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 7.

There are stories from back in the 1980s about how legendary Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird would, on occasion, walk into the huddle or locker room and say, “Hop on my back boys. I’ll carry you.’’ It’s tough to imagine quiet and humble Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman saying anything so brash.

But it’s getting to a point where he no longer has to verbalize that kind of thought. When things get tough, the Buccaneers are automatically hopping on Freeman’s back because they now believe the second-year quarterback will find a way to win.

He did it again Sunday, finding running back Cadillac Williams with a 1-yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds remaining to give the Bucs an 18-17 victory against St. Louis. Since taking over as the starter near the midpoint of last season, Freeman has led five fourth-quarter comebacks for victories.

He has done it three times this season and the Bucs still have 10 more games to hop on Freeman’s back. They don’t have much consistency in the running game and the defense hasn’t been as good as hoped. But none of that really matters because Freeman is way ahead of the learning curve and he’s carrying the Bucs.