8-6, but unlikely to make the playoffs. That was the status of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers going in to Week 16. They weren't eliminated, but losing to the Lions meant they were heavily dependent on the outcome of other games. It isn't uncommon for teams to blow up in the face of a disappointing loss, so the last two games of the 2010 season could be telling even if the Bucs weren't going to make the playoffs. And, of course, there was still a small chance of the Bucs making the playoffs. But to do so, they'd have to beat the Seattle Seahawks first. The Seahawks weren't exactly a good team, but they had managed some upset wins earlier in the season. They were 6-8 coming into the game in a very weak division, but they had managed to beat the Chargers and Bears previously. A weak quarterback, a poor offensive line and a poor secondary made this a pretty easy matchup for an injury-wrecked Bucs team, though.
Of course, the Bucs would get off to a really slow start anyway. Midway through the first quarter they were down a touchdown, as Matt Hasselbeck could walk into the endzone untouched. Unfortunately for old man Matt, he wasn't accustomed to moving his legs in that manner and injured himself anyway. And that was basically the breaking point of the game: once overpriced backup Charlie Whitehurst was under center the Seahawks stood no chance.
The Bucs still took it a little easy on them, though. A 79-yard Michael Spurlock kick return led to nothing more than a field goal. But on the very next drive, the Bucs would get the ball back at midfield after a horrible 17-yard punt by Seattle punter Jon Ryan. On the first play after that, the Bucs picked up 16 yards on a quick screen to Arrelious Benn. That wasn't the big news, though, as that was the play on which Arrelious Benn tore his ACL. Another week, another starter on IR for the Bucs. But the Bucs soldiered on, and a 17-yard pass to Mike Williams, an 8-yard run by Legarrette Blount (coupled with a 3-yard fumble, and recovery by Jeremy Zuttah) got the Bucs down to within 8 yards of the Seattle goalline. Caddy then lost 2 yards, but on 3rd-and-10 Josh Freeman hit Kellen Winslow for a 10-yard touchdown. 10-7 Bucs, and they wouldn't give that up again. This game was basically over, and the Bucs could work on running up the score.
Which is exactly what they did. Freeman moved the Bucs methodically on the next play, before hitting Mike Williams for a 20-yard score. This play was pretty interesting, as the Seahawks sent 7 blitzers at Freeman on 3rd-and-10, leaving every receiver in man-to-man. Freeman waited until the last moment before letting the ball go, and he hit a wide-open Mike Williams for the score. Williams had easily shaken off Marcus Trufant on the route.
The Bucs didn't stop there, although they failed to add another score just before half as a Connor Barth field goal was blocked. But in the second half, they simply continued what they had already been doing. Kellen Winslow would quickly catch his second touchdown of the day. The offensive line gave Freeman plenty of time as Kellen Winslow worked down the field. He could then catch the pass at the one-yard line, break two tackles and then get into the endzone.
And still the Bucs weren't done. On their next possession they got the ball at midfield, but Blount got them down to the red zone quickly with a 48-yard run. Blount had no trouble beating Seattle defenders on the play , and he embarrassed one-time star safety Lawyer Milloy by hurdling him. This was simply too easy, and Freeman finished off the drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams. Mike Williams' second touchdown and Josh Freeman's fourth touchdown of the day. The Bucs were now up 31-7, and they decided to take it easy on the Seahawks. They even let Seattle score with a16-yard touchdown run by Leon Washington, and a two-point conversion made it 31-15 in the second half.
That hardly mattered, though. Legarrette Blount ripped off another 53-yard run to set up Josh Freeman's 2-yard touchdown pass to Maurice Stovall. The final score of the game was 38-15, and the Bucs had beaten the Seahawks into the ground. This was one game in which they didn't play down to their opposition. Instead, they obliterated the opposition in style.
The hero of the day, of course, was Josh Freeman. He completed 21 out of 26 passes for 237 yards and no interceptions. Most impressively, he threw 5 touchdown passes in one game. He was the only NFL quarterback to do that in all of 2010.