TAMPA, Fla. -- On the legs of two second-half interceptions and an earlier blocked punt for a score, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally got the best of the San Diego Chargers with a 34-24 win at Raymond James Stadium.
Rookie cornerback Leonard Johnson picked off Philip Rivers' pass intended for Eddie Royal and trekked 83 yards for a touchdown to give Tampa Bay a 31-21 lead with 13:22 remaining.
It was retribution for Johnson, who had been fooled by Chargers receiver Danario Alexander for an 80-yard touchdown one minute into the game on a missed tackle.
LeQuan Lewis, who was signed off the practice squad this week, added another pick of Rivers with 3:19 remaining to set up Buccaneers' kicker Connor Barth's 45-yard field goal to seal the game just over two minutes later.
The wheels came off entirely for the Chargers, who have lost four of their past five games.
San Diego has a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter and went up 21-17 just before halftime when Rivers found Malcom Floyd for a 3-yard touchdown.
The Buccaneers scored 14 straight, first on a 15-yard grab by Tiquan Underwood before Johnson's 83-yard score. Adam Hayward had a 29-yard touchdown of a blocked punt in the second quarter.
Entering the fourth quarter, Rivers had been nearly perfect, carving up the Buccaneers' secondary and completing 21 of 25 passes for 267 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions, this after going 18 of 20 last week. Rivers finished Sunday's game 29 of 37 for 337 yards, three touchdowns, and two costly interceptions. Rivers now has 12 interceptions this season.
Hayward, a special teams captain, scooped up a blocked punt by teammate Dekoda Watson, running it in to give Tampa Bay its first lead of the day at 17-14. Chargers punter Mike Scifres was injured on the play.
The Buccaneers' red-hot offense, coming off its best month ever, lacked its recent sharpness but did just enough to keep pace with Rivers and the Chargers.
Quarterback Josh Freeman completed 14 of 20 passes for 210 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Coming off a record-setting performance last week against the Raiders, Bucs rookie running back Doug Martin had 120 total yards. Martin ran for 68 yards on 19 carries and caught three passes for 51 yards.
Martin set up the Bucs' first score of the game with a 42-yard catch. Freeman then hit tight end Dallas Clark for a 3-yard touchdown pass on a designed bootleg play.
Former Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson, who joined the Buccaneers as a free agent in March when he signed a $55 million deal, faced his former team for the first time. Jackson caught five passes for 59 yards, including a 31-yard grab to set up Underwood's score.
Notes: The Bucs defeated the Chargers for the first time since a 25-17 win in San Diego in 1996. ... In the third quarter, Bucs linebacker Quincy Black was involved in a helmet-to-helmet hit with Chargers running back Ryan Mathews. Black was on the field for several minutes, before being lifting onto a board and carted off. He motioned to fans as he left the stadium. ... Chargers defensive tackle Aubrayo Flanklin left the game in the first half with a knee injury. Outside linebacker Melvin Ingram also left the game with a knee injury. ... Hayward's 29-yard return was Tampa Bay's first score off a blocked punt since Ronde Barber did it in Green Bay on Nov. 8, 2009. ... Johnson has three interceptions in the past four games.