The Tampa Bay Buccaneers shocked the NFL by beating the Seattle Seahawks 14 to 5 on the back of a very strong defensive effort.
The Bucs defense was absolutely stifling, stopping the Seahawks passing game dead in its tracks and only allowing Russell Wilson to gain some ground on scrambles. They picked off Wilson twice, limiting him to just 151 passing yards on 33 attempts, and forced a Jimmy Graham fumble in the fourth quarter.
In fact, the Bucs defense was so dominant that they did not allow a single third-down conversion until the final two minutes of the game, on Seattle’s 11th third-down attempt. The Seahawks offense scored just a single field goal, while the Bucs amassed a whopping six sacks. And they did all of that against one of the best offenses in the NFL.
That defensive effort was complemented by two touchdowns on the Bucs’ first two drives of the game, with Jameis Winston finding Mike Evans both times. Other than that, though, the Bucs defense struggled to produce anything the rest of the game. Roberto Augayo missed one 48-yard field goal, and Dirk Koetter punted from Seattle’s 40-yard line (!) once, which did not help.
A Doug Martin fumble was negated by Lavonte David forcing a beautiful fumble, while Jameis Winston’s late-game end-zone interception was awful, but came too late to materially impact the game. The Bucs offense did just enough to win this game, but this was a defensive win through and through.
The Bucs got off to an outstanding start, going straight down the field with few problems and Jameis Winston finding Mike Evans in the endzone for the opening touchdown. One Noah Spence sack later the Bucs got the ball back, and Winston found Evans in the endzone. Again!
The Seahawks didn’t get on the board until the second quarter, and even then it took a review to turn a holding penalty in the endzone into a safety. They got another field goal to make it 14-5, but Alterraun Verner put a stop to another score right before the half — an emotional event, given that the Bucs cornerback is mourning his father, who just passed away.
That 14-5 score would last all the way into the fourth quarter. The Bucs offense kept getting to about midfield before being forced to punt, while their defense was absolutely stifling against Seattle’s surprisingly lackluster offense.
That was basically how the game ended, too, albeit with an exchange of turnovers. A Doug Martin fumble led to a Jimmy Graham fumble led to a Jameis Winston interception led to a Russell Wilson interception — and at that point, the game was over.