New England broke onto the scoreboard after a scoreless first quarter, but they couldn't catch up to Tampa Bay, as the Buccaneers took a 20-7 lead over the Patriots into halftime in the all-important third preseason game on Friday night at Raymond James Stadium.
Doug Martin scored on a one-yard touchdown rush at 9:41 of the first quarter and Mark Barron intercepted Tom Brady and returned the ball 22 yards for a score at the 3:09 mark, putting the Bucs up 14-0 after one quarter. Brady completed 4-of-6 first-quarter passes.
New England put together a solid drive at the start of the second quarter, going 81 yards on 12 plays over a span of 5:51, and Stevan Ridley capped it off with a one-yard score. Connor Barth's impressive 56-yard field goal put the Bucs up, 17-7, with 6:19 remaining, and a Kai Forbath 51-yard field goal gave Tampa Bay a 20-7 heading into the break.
Brady completed 9-of-14 passes for 80 yards and had one interception in the opening half. Ridley rushed for 52 yards on 10 carries and one touchdown and Aaron Hernandez caught two passes for 21 yards. Josh Freeman had 72 first half passing yards and Doug Martin rushed for 42 yards. Vincent Jackson, the former star wide receiver for the San Diego Chargers, had a strong first half, recording 49 receiving yards on three receptions.