Bucs earn kudos from Seahawks in defeat
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't leave with a victory, but they earned Seattle's respect. The Seahawks had to stage the biggest comeback in franchise history en route to an overtime victory that ran their home winning streak to 12 games.
“When we were watching film this week, we didn't understand why they were 0-7,'' Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner said of the Bucs. “We felt like we were playing a really good team. They came out and kicked us in the mouth.''
But after grabbing a 21-0 lead, Tampa Bay added only a Rian Lindell field goal the rest of the way as Seattle rallied for a 27-24 triumph.
“We just faced the toughest defense in the NFC, maybe the entire NFL, in their place and we sustained drives,'' Bucs guard Davin Joseph said. “We did a lot of positive things, but that 'W' still finds a way to stay out of Tampa Bay. After a game like this, I'm sick to my stomach, but we're a better team than we were last week. I'm feeling better about my teammates and coaches because the work we're putting in is starting to pay off.''
Seattle coach Pete Carroll came away impressed with Tampa Bay's resolve. “Tampa Bay played really good today,'' Carroll said. “We saw them all week long and thought they were a really good looking group. I know their record doesn't show that, but when you watch the film and how hard they play and how tough they are and the schemes they throw at you, I really wasn't surprised they would play well.''
Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate was shackled by cornerback Darrelle Revis, but the former Notre Dame standout turned in a huge play on special teams late in the third quarter with Tampa Bay ahead 24-14. Tate fielded Michael Koenen's punt at his own 4-yard line and weaved his way for a dazzling 71-yard return, eluding a half-dozen tacklers along the way.
That set up a Steven Hauschka field goal that pulled Seattle within a touchdown and energized a sellout crowd that sensed a momentum shift. “Golden's a great football player,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “If he makes a mistake back there trying to do something, great — I'm OK with that. It's a risk-reward, and look what he did.''
Tate entered the game averaging 11.3 yards per punt return. He averaged 30.7 yards on three returns against the Bucs.
“Once I got the ball in my hand, I just played backyard football,'' Tate said. “I set my blocks up and just ran.''