The Buccaneers dropped a close one in Seattle after what appeared to be a surprise blowout victory out west. After being up 21-0 in the first half, the Seahawks mounted a comeback to beat the Bucs in overtime 27-24. But two crucial plays may have led to Tampa Bay’s eighth loss of the season.
In this eighth edition of “After Further Review,” beat writer Gil Arcia goes inside the two plays that impacted the Bucs and Seahawks game from Week 9.
OFFENSE: THE GLENNON SCRAMBLE
It was third-and-7 in the fourth quarter with 44 seconds to go and the game tied at 24. The Buccaneers came out in a four-wide shotgun setup with running back Mike James to the right of quarterback Mike Glennon. To the left of the formation were wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Skye Dawson (inside) while tight end Tim Wright (inside) and wide receiver Tiquan Underwood to the far right.
Seattle matched the Buccaneers formation with a 2-4-5 setup – two down linemen, four linebackers, five defensive backs.
Upon the snap, Seattle rushed their front six, leaving one safety deep while the rest of the secondary was responsible for each of the four Buccaneer targets. As Glennon dropped back to pass, Bucs’ right tackle Demar Dotson was beat by left defensive end Cliff Avril, forcing Glennon to scramble out of the pocket. Jackson, Dawson, and Underwood ran curl routes and were well-defended. What Glennon didn’t see was Wright beating his man on an out-and-up route and was wide open in the middle of the field. The middle of the field was open because as Glennon scrambled to his left, safety Earl Thomas left his field responsibility to rush in on the Bucs rookie quarterback. As a result, the play went for just three yards and four yards shy of picking up the first down.
Why This Was Relevant: It would have been a tough throw for Glennon to make to Wright going across his body. But if he would have looked up and saw Wright beat his man as he waived his hands asking for the ball, he would have put Tampa Bay well in Seattle territory and quite possibly, go all the way for the touchdown. Unfortunately, with Dotson getting beat in pass protection, Glennon had to leave the pocket and try to pick up the first down with his legs.
What They Said
“That end of game, we had receivers open and he was ready to deliver the ball, one time we get run over and a guy goes right into his legs and that's not one of those things you can anticipate and slide up in the pocket. It's unfortunate because I think that drive he was going to do that and we get it out to almost midfield, before the end of regulation, and then we have a third-down in the overtime that was there and we just couldn't get it off. Yeah, he's got to do it but I think it's we all got to do it, it's not Mike." – Head coach Greg Schiano addressing the protection breakdowns at the end of the game.
DEFENSE: A SIMPLE CROSS THAT WASN’T SO SIMPLE
It was third-and-4 for the Seahawks from the Buccaneers’ 48-yard line. Tampa Bay was leading 24-7 with 6:25 remaining in the third quarter. Seattle came out in shotgun formation with four wide receivers. On the left side were wide receivers Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin while on the right side was Jermaine Kearse and Bryan Walters. Running back Marshawn Lynch was in the backfield to the left of quarterback Russell Wilson.
Tampa Bay came out in a 3-3-5 defense with Gerald McCoy lined up at right end, Adrian Clayborn inside, and Da’Quan Bowers at left end.
Before the snap, the Bucs showed blitz from the outsides with linebackers Jonathan Casillas and Mason Foster. Once Seattle snapped the ball, Casillas and Foster dropped back into zone coverage while Michael Adams rushed in on an ineffective blitz from the right side of the defense. As the two Tampa Bay outside linebackers dropped back into their zones, Tate crossed in front of the zoned linebackers running a simple crosing route, which was two yards shy of the first down marker. Wilson hit Tate in stride as Casillas dropped passed the first down line. The result was a simple two-yard cross turning into a 19-yard pick up by Seattle due to the linebackers playing too far off.
Why This Was Relevant: The Bucs only had 21 minutes of football left to play and ahead by 17 points. Just two plays earlier, it was first-and-18. The Bucs changing to a zone coverage for what looked to the the entire second half allowed Seattle to eat up the zone coverage just like this play here. With no pressure from the front four – Clayborn was removed out of the equation while in a one-on-one and McCoy was double teamed – it was easy for the Seahawks to convert this third down and score a touchdown two plays later.
What They Said
"Obviously it hurts. When you're in that situation, you're up 21-0 and you come out on the long end of it, it obviously hurts. I think the team is fine, we know what type of talent we have on this team and we know what we're capable of. We just have to figure out a way to win. That's basically it." – Safety Mark Barron talking about the 21 point deficit Seattle came back from.