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QUARTERBACKS Tampa Bay’s offense was able to move the ball vs. Seattle in the first half, but it failed to finish off drives with points. Bucs head coach Jon Gruden added a new wrinkle to his offense, featuring several three- and four-receiver sets in an effort to spread Seattle’s defense out. Those sets helped Bucs quarterback Tim Rattay connect with receivers, particularly Joey Galloway. Tampa Bay’s first drive stalled and didn’t produce any points after Matt Bryant missed a 44-yard field goal attempt. However, on the third series of the game, Rattay connected with Galloway down the right seam for a 44-yard gain to the Seahawks’ 21-yard line. A few plays later, Rattay found Galloway again, this time on a slant pattern that put the Bucs at the Seahawks’ 4-yard line. However, on third-and-goal at the beginning of the second quarter, Rattay found Galloway in the end zone for a touchdown. That 4-yard score capped off an eight-play, 80-yard drive. After a fumble recovery by cornerback Phillip Buchanon in the second quarter, Rattay play-action passed to Galloway to put the Bucs on the Seahawks’ 25-yard line. On third down on that same series, Rattay hit tight end Dave Moore, who got the ball down to the Seahawks’ 4-yard line before fumbling the football. Seattle safety Michael Boulware recovered the ball and returned it 33 yards. Although Bryant missed a field goal and Moore fumbled the football, Rattay missed wide receiver Ike Hilliard running open in the end zone on both of those drives. Rattay completed 9-of-15 passes for 121 yards and tossed one touchdown in the first half.
Tampa Bay’s offense sputtered with its limited opportunities in the second half. In fact, it ran just seven plays in the third quarter, including a Josh Bidwell punt. One of Tampa Bay’s three second-half drives lasted just one play before fullback Mike Alstott fumbled the ball away. The Bucs had the ball for just over seven minutes in the second half. In the fourth quarter, Rattay engineered a 52-yard, 13-play drive that got inside Seattle’s 10-yard line, but Rattay was victimized by dropped passes in the end zone by Michael Pittman and Galloway on consecutive plays before the Bucs turned the ball over on downs. Rattay completed 16-of-27 passes for 185 yards and tossed one touchdown vs. the Seahawks.
Tampa Bay converted 3-of-9 (33 percent) of its third down attempts vs. Seattle.
RUNNING BACKS Bucs running back Cadillac Williams was sidelined for the second straight game with a foot injury. He was replaced by Michael Pittman, who did some damage to Seattle’s defense in the first half. On the first play of the second series of the game, Pittman broke off a 32-yard run off the left side of the line. That play put the Bucs on the Seahawks’ 48-yard line. But Bryant eventually missed a 48-yard field goal attempt. On the third series of the game, Pittman ripped of a 15-yard run. He finished the first half with 10 carries for 68 yards (6.8 avg.) and one catch for 14 yards. However, Tampa Bay had just three possessions in the second half and fell behind Seattle by two scores. Pittman finished the game with 12 carries for 73 yards (6.1 avg.).
Tampa Bay fullback Mike Alstott, who might have been playing his final game as a Buccaneer Sunday, struggled in the first half, carrying the ball three times for minus-2 yards. He was stuffed for a 1-yard loss on a third-and-1 run on Tampa Bay’s first offensive series of the game. At the beginning of the third quarter, Alstott fumbled the football, allowing the Seahawks to recover the ball on Tampa Bay’s own 11-yard line. Four plays later, the Seahawks kicked a field goal, making the score 20-7 in favor of the Seahawks. On the next series, Alstott dropped a pass from Rattay. In the fourth quarter, Alstott picked up a first down on a third-and-1 run off to the right side. Alstott finished the game, which might have been his last as a pro, with six carries for just 4 yards (0.7 avg.).
The Bucs rushed for 110 yards on 21 carries (5.2 avg.) vs. the Seahawks.
WIDE RECEIVERS Bucs WR Joey Galloway entered Sunday’s game needing just 61 yards receiving to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight season. He didn’t waste any time getting there, catching three passes for 63 yards in the first quarter, including an impressive 44-yard grab in which he out jumped Seattle CB Kelly Herndon for the catch to put the Bucs on the Seahawks’ 21-yard line. A few plays later, Galloway got open across the middle of the field on a slant and hauled in a pass from Ratty to put the Bucs on the Seahawks’ 4-yard line. On third-and-goal on the same series, Galloway hauled in a pass from Rattay for a touchdown, which made the score 10-7 in favor of the Seahawks. That play capped off an eight-play, 80-yard drive. On the next series, Galloway came up with a grab by diving for a pass thrown by Rattay off of play-action. However, on Tampa Bay’s next series in a third-and-10 situation, Galloway dropped a pass from Rattay on a crossing pattern, which forced the Bucs to punt. Galloway caught six passes for 94 yards (16.7 avg.) and one touchdown in the first half. But like the rest of Tampa Bay’s offense, Galloway was hindered by the Bucs defense’s inability to get the ball back. Galloway finished Sunday’s game with eight catches for 118 yards (14. avg.) and one touchdown.
Rookie WR Maurice Stovall started again at the Z (flanker) spot. However, his biggest impact came as a runner. Stovall was on the receiving end of two double reverses in the first half. He took the first double reverse up the left side of the field for an 18-yard gain to Seattle’s 30-yard line. His next carry came in the second quarter, and Stovall gained 11 yards on the attempt. Stovall ran extremely hard and broke several tackles on both runs. He finished the first half with two carries for 29 yards while catching just one pass. Stovall did not have a carry or catch in the second half.
Although he didn’t catch a pass in the first half, Bucs WR Ike Hilliard got himself open in the end zone on two different drives, but Rattay didn’t see him. That proved to be costly as the Bucs missed a field goal and fumbled the ball to finish both of those drives. Hilliard caught just one pass for 4 yards on Sunday.
Tampa Bay WR Paris Warren did a nice job of getting his feet in bounds on a 9-yard pass from Rattay in the fourth quarter. That was Warren’s only catch of the game.
The Bucs produced 287 yards of total offense vs. the Seahawks.
TIGHT ENDS Bucs TE Alex Smith was inactive for Sunday’s game due to a back injury. Anthony Becht and Dave Moore started in his place.
Moore, who might have been playing his last game in the NFL, had a costly mistake in the second quarter in a third down situation from Seattle’s 15-yard line. Rattay hit Moore across the middle of the field to get the ball to the 4-yard line, but Moore fumbled the ball, which allowed safety Michael Boulware to pick up the loose ball and return it 33 yards to their own 37-yard line. That was the last time Moore touched the football. He finished the game with one catch for 9 yards.
Becht did a nice job blocking on the perimeter, but didn’t have many passes thrown his way. He had one catch for 5 yards on Sunday. Tampa Bay featured fewer two-tight end sets Sunday due to Smith’s injury and Gruden’s desire to spread Seattle’s defense out with three- and four-receiver sets.
The Bucs produced just 15 first downs to the Seahawks’ 28 first downs.
OFFENSIVE LINE Tampa Bay’s offensive line, particularly the left side, opened up some nice running lanes for Pittman and Stovall, who rushed for 68 yards in the first half. The Bucs offense featured three- and four-receiver sets spread the Seattle defense out, which in turn kept the Seahawks from crowding the line of scrimmage. Tackles Anthony Davis and Jeremy Trueblood did a nice job of holding off Seattle defensive ends Bryce Fisher and Grant Wistrom. However, Davis allowed Seahawks linebacker Julian Peterson to sack Rattay in the third quarter on a blitz. In the first quarter, Bucs center John Wade failed to snap the ball after the Seahawks clearly were going to be called for encroachment. While the Bucs received 5 yards on the penalty, Wade could have given the Bucs offense a free play had he snapped the ball. Wade was flagged for an illegal snap in the second half. In the second quarter, guard Davin Joseph was called for a false start.
Tampa Bay lost the time of possession to Seattle, 37:20 to 22:40.
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