The simple answer to how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could have beaten the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle is turnovers, running hard, and third down conversions. At halftime, the Bucs lead 21-7.
Tampa running back Michael James was in a zone having a career day running over and through the ‘Hawks’ defense and secondary. By the third quarter he had 24 carries for 140 yards and just kept breaking through.
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On paper there is no logical reason for the Bucs to be able to beat the Seahawks. The Legion of Boom has dominated in every game. Tampa’s many mistakes and distractions have them at the bottom of the league as one of only two teams who have yet to win a game this season.
The Seahawks are 7-1, their best start in franchise history. Yet, the Force is strong with Tampa’s rookie quarterback Mike Glennon. He continues to grow by leaps and bounds since stepping into departed quarterback Josh Freeman’s shoes. He spent the day eluding Seattle’s rush and keeping the ball under protection.
The Bucs’ defense kept the ‘Hawks under wraps. They didn’t score a touchdown until late in the second quarter.
Early in the third quarter, Tampa kicked a field goal to stretch the lead 24-7. However the Seahawks are not a first ranked team for nothing. Quarterback Russell Wilson marched his offense down the field and Marshawn Lynch rushed for a touchdown to narrow the lead to 10 at 24-14,
Tampa was forced to punt for only the second time in the game. Golden Tate ran the 52 yard punt back for 71 yards giving Seattle excellent field position. The ‘Hawks worked down the field again but they were held to a field goal to cut the lead down to 7 at 24-17.
At this point, Tampa had not been in the end zone since the second quarter.
The Seahawks again worked their way downfield and Wilson threw a bomb to Jermaine Kearse to move them down to the Bucs’ 3 yard line. On 1st and goal, Wilson passed up the middle but was intercepted at the goal line by Tampa’s Keith Tandy, his first NFL interception. Seattle drew a face mask call that gave the Bucs another 15 yards to the 21.
Glennon handed off to James who got 3 yards. Jackson caught the ball for 3rd and 2. Bucs at this point were 8 for 12 on 3rd down conversions. From the shotgun Glennon had to throw the ball away, bringing up the punt. This was the first time the Bucs went 3 and out all day.
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Seattle center Max Unger went out with a concussion. From their 41, Wilson handed the ball to Lynch who got three.
On 3rd and three Lynch fought for the first down. Wilson fired downfield to Zac Miller, a 22 yard completion to the Bucs’ 26. Wilson was pursued but go the ball to Tate who got to the 18. On 3rd and 2, Wilson tossed to Lynch who pushed forward to the first down.
After the 2-minute warning, Wilson passed to Doug Baldwin who scored the touchdown to tie the score 24-24 with 1:51 remaining in the game.
Page returned the kickoff to the 20. The Bucs got caught on a delay of game call and had to punt.
Tate took the ball at the 20 and ran it back to the 32. Time expired and the game went into overtime.
Bucs won the toss and chose to receive. The Bucs took the ball at the 20. Glennon ran out of bounds at the 21, unable to find anyone open.
On 3rd and 7, James went out after a 3 yard run. From the shotgun, Glennon escaped a sack but was recaptured at the 16 yard line. On the punt, Tate was forced out of bounds just over the 40 yard line.
Since the Bucs already had a possession, if Seattle scored, they would now win.
Lynch rushed to midfield for the first down, breaking tackles and leaping over defenders. Pro-Bowler Gerald McCoy required medical attention on the field, possibly for a knee issue.
Lynch made it down to the 27, putting Steven Hauschka in field goal range for a 51 yard attempt. Lynch rushed again but only got a few. On 3rd and 6 Wilson handed off to Lynch again who picked up the first down inside the 20 with a 13 yard run. This is the 18th time in 34 games Lynch has over 100 yards rushing.
From the 19, Lynch got inside the 10 to the 6 yard line before he was tackled. After a time out, Wilson moved the ball to midfield, and nearly lost the ball on a strip. It was negated because he already gave himself up.
The kick was good and the Seahawks continue their march to the playoffs.
Despite their toughness and tenacity, Tampa Bay was not able to keep the Seahawks down. This is the first time since 1985 the Bucs have started 0-8, and the first time the Seahawks have started 8-1. If Tampa had continued to press Wilson and cover down field, they may have beaten Seattle and won their first game of the year. Marshawn Lynch broke the D-line in the second half and ran all over them much the way Mike James did to Seattle in the first half. Instead, Tampa is left to wonder what exactly it will take to get a win this year.
By Brandi Tasby