Line Can't Maintain Early Momentum
Ira Kaufman, The Tampa Tribune, published 10 September 2007

For one startling 15-minute span, Tampa Bay's offensive line imposed its will on the favored Seahawks and prompted Bucs fans to ponder the possibilities. Then the second quarter began ... and the good times ended. 'We had a nice coming-out party,' second-year guard Davin Joseph said, 'and then we let our advantages go. We got ourselves backed up and we didn't do enough up front to get ourselves out of it.'

Joseph and the rest of Tampa Bay's line paved the way for 139 yards in the opening quarter en route to a 6-0 lead that silenced Seattle's noted 12th man - the sellout crowd of 68,044 that usually transforms Qwest Field into a noisy dungeon for opponents.

But the Bucs couldn't maintain their momentum in a 20-6 Week 1 loss that left the visitors punchless in Seattle. 'Obviously, we didn't do enough,' left tackle Luke Petitgout said after his regular-season Bucs debut. 'You've got to get touchdowns when you get opportunities in this league and we kicked field goals. This stadium's tough. From an offensive standpoint, I consider this the toughest place in the NFL to open up a season. With all the noise, it's like playing with one hand behind your back.'

The last three quarters produced only 145 additional yards. Once quarterback Jeff Garcia was driven to the sidelines in the third quarter with Seattle ahead 10-6, the Seahawks knew they were in command. 'They controlled the tempo in the first half and I admit they had me very concerned,' said Seahawks linebacker Julian Peterson, who registered two sacks, three of Seattle's 12 quarterback hits, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. 'They were giving us lots of different looks and we were off balance. Then Garcia got rattled and that moment changed the game. Head coaches feel more comfortable with their No. 1 guy out there and when they turned to Luke McCown, they got basic and our defense capitalized.'

In one nightmarish second-quarter sequence, Joseph was flagged for holding, a false start and a chop block within four snaps. Two of those penalties were declined, but Joseph also was called for holding in the fourth quarter as the Bucs attempted to rally. 'We played decent, but we didn't play up to the situation,' Joseph said. 'We didn't rise to the occasion as a unit. Give them credit - they played a heck of a game - but it was more about us not getting the job done. I know we have a better offense than that.'

While Joseph struggled, second-round pick Arron Sears played with some confidence at left guard. 'Sears is a rookie, and rookies are going to make mistakes, but I thought he did fine,' Petitgout said.

Keeping Garcia and McCown clean proved a tough chore for the Bucs as Seattle posted five sacks. Poor field position also plagued the offense and Cadillac Williams carried only once in the second half before suffering a game-ending rib injury.

With Peterson and hard-hitting middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu leading the way, Seattle's defense made the Bucs pay for every precious yard. And up front, ex-Falcons end Patrick Kerney enjoyed an impressive Seattle debut against right tackle Jeremy Trueblood with 1.5 sacks and four quarterback hits. 'I've seen Jeff Garcia kill people in this league, just carve 'em up,' Peterson said. 'We have a very fast defense and we got to him good today.'