Bucs 24 Seahawks 27 - the game report
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers nearly pulled off the upset of the season in Seattle on Sunday, dropping a 27-24 overtime decision to the now 8-1 Seahawks despite leading 21-0 in the second quarter. The Buccaneers fell to 0-8 with the loss and were in no mood to contemplate "moral victories" after Steven Hauschka's 27-yard field goal in overtime.
"It certainly hurts," said Head Coach Greg Schiano. "The guys put forth a great effort, but at the end of the day it's about having more points than they do, and we didn't. There were a lot of good things that are encouraging, things that make me optimistic, but today it doesn't make me very optimistic."
Rookies QB Mike Glennon, RB Mike James and TE Tim Wright all had strongperformances in the loss. Glennon completed 17 of 23 passes for 168 yards with two touchdowns. James rushed for 158 on 28 carries and even added a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tom Crabtree. Wright had four catches for 58 yards and one touchdown. "This is definitely a tough one, to come in here against possibly the best team in the NFC, at their place, which is considered one of the toughest places to play in the league, and to be up 21-0 and lose," said Glennon. "It was definitely tough."
Seattle entered the game with the NFC’s best record and had the considerable home field advantage of a venue recognized as the loudest in the NFL. But Glennon, the Buccaneers’ heady rookie quarterback, took away that advantage early with a scintillating first half, completing 10 of his first 11 passes for 124 yards, two touchdowns and a near-perfect 153.2 passer rating.
After a Mark Barron interception turned away Seattle’s scoring threat on the opening drive, Glennon directed consecutive scoring marches of 90 and 84 yards to put the Bucs up by 14 points with TD strikes to TE Tim Wright and WR Tiquan Underwood. A fumble on the kickoff following that second score set up the Bucs for a third short scoring drive, this one ending in RB Mike James’ trick-play touchdown pass to TE Tom Crabtree.
James, filling in for injured starter Doug Martin, had a marvelous game, as well, as the Bucs’ rookie trio of Glennon, Wright and James continued to emerge as a major bright spot in a mostly difficult season. James ran for 158yards on 28 carries, the 10th-highest single-game total in franchise history.
James’ jump-pass to Crabtree was part of an overall game plan that was obviously designed to pull out all the stops in the upset effort. The Buccaneers also tried a surprise onside kick in the second quarter (it worked but was called back by penalty) and a pooch kickoff in the third quarter. WR Skye Dawson had his first career carry, a 14-yarder on an end-around as part of a field goal drive in the third quarter, and Glennon threw passes to eight different players.
Barron led the defensive charge with 11 tackles and two passes defensed to go with his big interception. S Keith Tandy got the Buccaneers’ second red zone interception in the fourth quarter on a remarkable one-handed play that denied what could have been a game-tying touchdown. Though he wasn’t a big presence in the stat sheet, DT Gerald McCoy spent the day in Seattle’s backfield, routinely knifing right through Seattle’s line of scrimmage..
The Seahawks started the game with two Lynch runs and got 18 yards out of them to make it first-and-10 at the Seattle 38. DT Gerald McCoy nearly sacked Wilson on a first-down pass that ended in a little flip to Lynch for no gain, but Lynch then ripped off 14 more yards up the middle on the next play. The Bucs did manage to force a third-and-nine moments later when LB Lavonte David closed quickly on an attempted Wilson scramble, but Wilson moved the chains with a quick slant pass to TE Zach Miller that just got enough. Lynch got another 11 yards on the next handoff, but two short gains led to third-and-five and Barron ended the drive with a diving pick of a pass that sailed by Miller, the intended target.
The Bucs’ offense thus started at its own 14, with the rookie James getting a pair of handoffs and gaining five and four yards. On third-and-one, James went over left guard on a well-designed jumbo run and was able to slither through for two yards and a first down at the 25. Consecutive offsides and pass-interference penalties on the Seahawks then moved the ball out to the Bucs’ 43. Two plays later, LB Bobby Wagner shot through a gap on the line untouched and dropped Glennon hard for a sack of 11 yards to make it third-and-18. A dump-off pass to RB Brian Leonard was well short of moving the chains and the Bucs had to punt from their 43.
The punt bounced into the end zone for a touchback, and Seattle got a quick start to its next drive when LB Jonathan Casillas was flagged for roughing the passer. After a pair of Robert Turbin runs, Seattle faced another third down at the 42, needing three yards, and the Bucs kept them from getting it when Barron stopped Turbin on a sweep left. WR Skye Dawon muffed the ensuing punt but was able to recover it at the Bucs’ 10.
The Bucs faced a quick third-and-eight but Glennon converted it by driving a hard pass through traffic to Wright for 14 and a first down at the Bucs’ 26. James ripped off a 21-yard tackle-breaking run after a false start, and Leonard got eight around left tackle on the last play of the first quarter. After the break, a run by James failed to gain anything, so Glennon passed on third-and-two and threw a quick out to Jackson for six yards and a first down at the Seattle 44. On the next play, S Earl Thomas drew a 22-yard pass-interference call when Glennon tried to go deep to Dawson. Two more James runs produced just enough for another first down at the Seattle 13. Two plays later, Glennon rolled left to buy time and eventually hit Wright in the back middle of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown. Wright was well-covered when the ball was thrown but he peeled off his route just in time while the defender kept going.
The Bucs successfully pulled off a surprise onside kick after that score, but the play was negated by an offsides call against Tampa Bay’s cover team. After a conventional kickoff, Seattle started at its own 24 and got one first down before facing a third-and-10 at their 36. DE Da’Quan Bowers flushed Wilson from the pocket and nearly got the sack, but the Seattle passer escaped and shot up the right sideline. Wilson almost made it to the next yard marker, but CB Michael Adams caught him a yard short. The Seahawks punted and Eric Page fair caught the ball at the Buccaneer 16.
Another tough run by James up the middle, for eight yards, set up a third-and-one and Glennon converted it with a play-action pass to FB Erick Lorig for seven more. James’ one-cut burst up the middle got 11 more to the Bucs’ 43 but it was third-and-seven at the 46 moments later. Glennon was quickly flushed from the pocket but he managed to get off a short pass that WR Tiquan Underwood came back to for a diving seven-yard grab. The next third down was four yards short of the marker at the Seattle 39, and once again Glennon moved the sticks, this time getting it to Leonard’s hands on an out, hitting him in stride so he could turn it upfield for a gain of 19 to the Seattle 20. On the next play, Glennon scrambled left to avoid trouble and threw on the run to Underwood, who caught the pass just inside the left front edge of the end zone for Tampa Bay’s second TD.
It got even better moments later when WR Russell Shepard forced a fumble by return man Jevon Kearse on the ensuing kickoff and P Michael Koenen recovered for Tampa Bay. Koenen went to the ground to cover up the ball at the Seattle 31, and on the very next play Glennon found Wright deep down the left seam for a 27-yard completion. A personal foul by Thomas on the tackle tacked on two yards, and the Bucs scored on the next play in unusual fashion. James took a handoff up the middle but stopped suddenly and threw a jump-pass over the line to TE Tom Crabtree. Crabtree had fallen down but he was able to rise up enough to catch the pass for the Bucs’ third score.
Seattle answered quickly with their first scoring drive, though much of it came courtesy of yellow flags. Wilson had 15 yards tacked onto the end of a long scramble on a blow-to-the-head call in the backfield, and CB Michael Adams was flagged for pass interference at Tampa Bay’s 16. On the next play, Wilson found Kearse cutting up the middle for a 16-yard score to make it 21-7 with 1:45 left in the half.
McCoy was flagged for roughing the passer after Wilson got the throw off, which allowed Seattle to kickoff from midfield, and the Seahawks smartly hit one high and short that Page had to fair catch at the 13. On third-and-four, Leonard took a delayed handoff and fought his way up the middle past the sticks, which allowed the Bucs to run out the first-half clock.
Tampa Bay got the ball first to start the second half and James immediately ripped off a nine-yard run. Three plays later, Glennon zipped a hard pass down the left seam to Leonard to convert a third-and-four, and a Dawson end-around worked for 14 more on the next play. James followed with another burst up the middle, this one for 18 yards to the Seattle 17. The Bucs eventually settled for Rian Lindell’s 33-yard field goal to make it 24-7.
Koenen executed a perfect pooch kickoff following that score, with the Bucs trapping Kearse at the 14. However, a scrambling 17-yard strike by Wilson to Miller and a 13-yard run by Lynch on consecutive plays took it close to midfield. Miller’s holding penalty brought back another long Lynch run, however, making it first-and-18 at the Seattle 38. A phenomenal open-field tackle by David set up a third-and-four but Wilson found Tate on a crossing route and the receiver broke free for 19 yards to the Bucs’ 29. Wilson’s incredible scrambling throw and Baldwin’s toe-dragging sideline grab got 19 more to the Bucs’ 10, and Wilson ran it in himself on the next play.
A 17-yard run by James got the Bucs headed in the right direction on the next possession, but a holding call on Crabtree erased another good run and made it first-and-20 at the 30. The Bucs were unable to recover from that backup and had to punt from their own 44 as the third quarter neared an end. That proved to be a massive shift in momentum in Seattle’s favor, because Tate fielded the punt at his own four and broke a series of tackles to get 71 yards all the way back to the Bucs’ 25.
The third quarter ended on a diving catch by WR Ricardo Lockette, but the Bucs threw the challenge flag during the break. The ruling was upheld, so the Seahawks faced a third-and-three at the 18. Wilson was chased far behind the pocket and eventually threw incomplete. Seattle still got points out of it on Steven Hauschka’s 36-yard field goal. James’ 11-yard run was a good start to the next drive, but Glennon was sacked by DE Michael Bennett on third-and-three and the Bucs had to punt, with Koenen’s kick going out of bounds at the Seattle 25.
The Bucs brought a big blitz on first down but the Seattle protection held long enough to allow Wilson to just get off a 28-yard pass to Baldwin. Wilson then converted a third-and-three with a six-yard strike to Baldwin to move the ball to the Bucs’ 34. On third-and-six three plays later, Wilson chose to go downfield and Kearse made a leaping catch over Michael Adams at the three. Just when it seemed like the Seahawks were poised to tie the game, Tandy turned in his big play, reaching up with one hand to interrupt a pass intended for Baldwin in the end zone and then hauling in the deflection. A facemask penalty on Tandy’s return moved the ball out to the Bucs’ 21 but the Bucs were unable to mount a drive and had to punt again.