Seahawks 20, Bucs 6, Final

Can't watch the game? Bucsblitz.com is here to help. Each week I'll keep you apprised of what's going on during the game with the Bucsblitz.com Game Blog. I'm not in Seattle this weekend, but I'll keep you updated just the same.

Final thoughts, 7:15 p.m

Tampa Bay started about as well as it could have hoped for and still only scored six points. That was a common problem last year, moving the football well but being unable to cash in on the drive. That hurt them later in the game.

After the first quarter the offense went south. Seattle's defense adjusted, put more pressure on Bucs QB Jeff Garcia and forced two key turnovers. The injuries to RB Cadillac Williams (ribs) and WR David Boston (foot) didn't help, either. Only Joey Galloway had a big game among the receivers. Ike Hilliard kind of disappeared after the opening quarter. And two big roughing the passer penalties negated Bucs mistakes on offense.

The same thing happened to the defense. Early, they looked great, partly because the offense was controlling the clock and partly because the Seahawks' offense didn't seem to have a clue what it was doing. Once the Seahawks settled in, they started moving the ball and controlling the clock, taking advantage of Tampa Bay's inept offense in the middle quarters and grabbing control of the game.

The game started with promise, but ended about the way I expected, with Seattle in control of the contest. I'd be worried about Williams' condition, as well as cornerback Brian Kelly, who apparently has a groin injury and will likely be questionable next week. The depth will be concerning at those two areas.

Overall, the Bucs get a C- for this game.

Final score, Seahawks 20, Bucs 6.

Graham fumbles, 7:00 p.m

Two plays later, Earnest Graham has a fine catch and some solid yardage working toward the end zone when Lofa Tatupu knocks the ball out from behind, leading to a second turnover of the game.

The Seahawks have the ball with 3:38 left. Like I said before, ball game.

There's Stevens, 6:59 p.m

Jerramy Stevens makes his first catch as a Buc and he immediately fumbled it. Fortunately, one of his old teammates helped him out with a roughing the passer penalty to give the ball back to the Bucs. Bucs are driving with 4:25 left.

Here comes Garcia, 6:53 p.m

Jeff Garcia is back on the field after missing two possessions.

Garcia's left wrist is very heavily taped up. I can't remember if it was that taped up before he left the game.

Ball game, 6:50 p.m

Matt Hasselbeck just hit Maurice Morris for a touchdown pass. Morris, a running back, went in motion and linebacker Derrick Brooks went with him. Brooks became lost in coverage. The replay showed him searching for the ball in the air and losing Morris in coverage. Plus, Morris is plenty quicky.

Seahawks up 20-6. This game is over with 7:55 left. The Bucs have gained 88 yards since the start of the second quarter.

Boston's hurt?, 6:45 p.m

David Boston has a foot injury? Where the heck did this come from? Was he even on the injury report this week?

I just checked. He wasn't on the injury report all week. This is, well, suspicious, because I've heard no news about a foot injury at all. Anywhere. I know I'm not out of my mind. It must have happened during the game.

McCowns squared, 6:43 p.m

While Luke McCown is trying to rally the Bucs in Seattle, his brother, Josh, is trying to do the same for Oakland against Detroit. The Raiders are down three.

Injury update, 6:38 p.m

Cadillac Williams is out with a rib injury. CB Brian Kelly is trying to stretch out a groin injury. Jeff Garcia is still on the sideline and the Bucs aren't telling anyone what's wrong with him. Luke McCown is still in the game.

I'm not surprised the Bucs aren't talking about Garcia. Why be up front about it when you can just let everyone speculate? I still think it's a possible concussion.

BTW, Seahawks are up 13-6.

Seattle asserts itself, 6:30 p.m

We're creeping up on the one-minute mark in the third quarter and I think the Seattle offensive line is beginning to take over this game. Shaun Alexander just ran off a nice chunk of yardage to the Bucs 35.

They're starting to use Alexander much more now and there seems to be more space to operate for the running game. That's not surprising, as the Bucs offense isn't holding onto the ball the way they did in the first half, leaving the Bucs defense on the field longer than they'd like.

We're off to the fourth quarter. Seahawks lead 10-6.

Garcia back, 6:28 p.m

Jeff Garcia is back on the sideline. I would expect to see him on the next offensive possession.

It's starting to fall apart, 6:26 p.m

So, Josh Bidwell took the snap and obviously though he heard a whistle and stopped the play. Thing is, no one else did. The ref is saying that the fans blew a whistle in the stands and that's what threw off Bidwell. So they're getting fourth down over again.

That's a huge break. But Bidwell can't break that off like that. He has to kick it, even if he's sure that he heard a whistle. The fact that everyone else is moving should tip him off that the play isn't dead.

McCown's big problem, 6:25 p.m

One problem I've noticed with Luke McCown this preseason is that he holds the ball too long. He just did that again with 4:28 left as he was sacked by Seattle. He lost the ball, but he got it back.

He needs to get rid of that thing.

McCown in, 6:19 p.m

Luke MCown's first official snap as a Buccaneers quarterback is a play-action fake that's nearly picked off by Deon Grant.

Hey, maybe give the kid a handoff so he settles down, eh Jon?

Now Garcia is headed for the locker room. This has all the makings of a possible concussion.

McCown converts a first down pass to Ike Hilliard as Garcia leaves.

He's 37?, 6:17 p.m

Jeff Garcia just scrambled for a first down and he took a huge hit from Leroy Hill to do it. No sliding for the 37-year old QB. No sir. Hill came close to helmet-to-helmet, but it was a clean hit.

And, since this is Tampa Bay, Garcia is shaken up. He's been sacked three times and hit six more times and we're at the 7:25 mark of the third quarter.

Luke McCown is warming up. Since the trainers are out, Garcia has to come out for at least one play.

Poor tackling and a turnover, 6:15 p.m

On the first play after Josh Bidwell's punt four different Bucs can't tackle Nate Burleson. Horrible tackling. And then Ronde Barber strips Burleson to force a turnover.

So was that a good sequence or a bad sequence? It's likely Monte Kiffin will praise Barber but chastise the rest of the defense for their inability to tackle.

Bucs have the ball with about 8:44 left and decent field position.

Remember the fragile talk?, 6:08 p.m

Here is the knock on Cadillac Williams right here — his durability. Williams had a great game going for him, averaging about 5 yards per carry.

Now, it's about 10 minutes left in the third quarter and Williams on the ground and appears to be hurt. He took a shot on his blind side on that run, maybe to the ribs.

If he's out for any length of time that's going to hurt the running game to some degree. Watch Jon Gruden put the game in Jeff Garcia's hands completely if Williams can't come back.

Spires with the sack, 6:04 p.m

That sack by Greg Spires was big for two reasons. First, it forced the Seahawks to punt. Second, Spires came from the right side, with Kevin Carter on the left. That shows the Bucs aren't going to be afraid to mix up their pass rushers this season if the matchup is right.

Another big penalty, 6:06 p.m

Ike Hiliard had a big punt return there until Sabby Piscitelli committed an illegal block to bring it back. That's the second big penalty on a big Bucs return today, negating great field position both times.

That's drive Jon Gruden nuts when he breaks down the film on the plane ride home.

Spires with the sack, 6:04 p.m

That sack by Greg Spires was big for two reasons. First, it forced the Seahawks to punt. Second, Spires came from the right side, with Kevin Carter on the left. That shows the Bucs aren't going to be afraid to mix up their pass rushers this season if the matchup is right.

Bucs go three and out, 6:00 p.m

The Bucs offense seems to be sputtering now. That's two straight three-and-outs for the Bucs after a largely successful first half. Brian Baldinger made the point that Jeff Garcia isn't getting out of the pocket as much as he did in the first quarter. That's a useful adjustment for a Seattle defense that seemed to be on its heels for most of the first half.

Bucs force punt, 5:56 p.m

Tampa Bay forced Seattle into a punt on the Seahawks' first possession of the third quarter. Cornerback Phillip Buchanon broke up a pass to Nate Burleson to stop the drive.

Halftime analysis, 5:38 p.m

Offense: I'm pleasantly surprised at how efficiently they've performed so far. Only a couple of penalties, Jeff Garcia looked great and he's acting like a leader. Did you see how he admonished Michael Clayton after the receiver broke off a route. G Davin Joseph did commit three penalties late that hurt the Bucs deep in their own territory (the Seahawks only accepted one). Cadillac Williams averaged about 3 yards a carry. The Bucs would like to see that go up a bit. That last possession was awful, though.

Defense: The unit looked more like its pre-2006 self, keeping the Seahawks off balance most of the half. Even after the Seahawks put together a big play, the Bucs held them to a field goal. They're not getting a pass rush from their front four, however. They're relying on blitzes and that could leave them vulnerable later. Plus the Seahawks had a great second quarter offensively, capped by Shaun Alexander's TD run after a great return from Nate Burleson. Not much the defense could have done there.

Special teams: Both Matt Bryant and Josh Bidwell have had solid games. The coverage was solid until it gave up that punt return to Nate Burleson.

What? 5:47 p.m

I'm not sure why Gruden chose to run there on that last play of the half, though Cadillac Williams turned it into a productive run. That would have been a much better call if the Bucs had a time out to use there, but they didn't.

Big plays lead to touchdowns, 5:28 p.m

The Bucs failed to corral Nate Burleson on a punt return and that set up the Seahawks' first touchdown of the game. The Bucs had two tacklers down there when Burleson caught the ball, but they appeared to get run out of the play by blockers. Then Burleson found a nice wall and took it down the sideline. Credit Quincy Black with saving the tackle.

Then Alexander ran it in three plays later, after officials overturned his first touchdown run. It doesn't get much better from an offensive standpoint — or much worse if you're the Bucs. They go three and out, look horrible doing it and then give up a big return and touchdown run. It's their first real blunder of the day.

Graham on kickoffs, 5:20 p.m

I know everybody kept saying all week that Michael Pittman would return kickoffs. But I never bought it. So there's Earnest Graham returning punts for the Bucs today. I couldn't imagine the Bucs using such an important weapon like Pittman in that situation. Of course, they're using Joey Galloway on punts, so maybe we should wait for the whole game to assess that situation.

Seattle held to field goal, 5:17 p.m

No shock here. Derrick Brooks leads the charge to stop Shaun Alexander on third down inside the Bucs 10-yard line. That leads to a Josh Brown field goal and a 6-3 Bucs lead heading into the two-minute warning.

Considering the deep pass to Bobby Engram set Seattle up there inside the 10, the Bucs did a great job of holding them to a field goal.

Bucs 6, Seahawks 3.

Seahawks go long, 5:14 p.m

Bobby Engram had a great mismatch on that long pass play with Matt Hasselbeck, as middle linebacker Barrett Ruud had him in coverage. Now, Ruud did well to keep up with the crafty Engram, but he couldn't make the same cut Engram did to get to Hasselbeck's pass, leading to the 49-yard game. Jermaine Phillips was late on the help, too.

Jackson changed his number, 5:12 p.m

Tanard Jackson is now wearing No. 28. He just broke up that pass from Matt Hasselbeck, who was lucky to get that off after that big blitz by Derrick Brooks. Hasselbeck will be thinking about that.

Stovall makes a tackle, 5:08 p.m

The "Magician" just made that tackle on Nate Burleson on special teams. Maurice Stovall may not see much playing time at wide receiver but he appears to be getting his reps on special teams. That was a great tackle, too. He really held up Burleson for the rest of the unit to get down there.

That's three returns today — two kickoff and one punt — for an average of 6.0 yards. Pretty solid numbers for a unit that was one of the league's best in coverage last year.

Seahawks forced to punt, 4:57 p.m

After appearing a bit unsettled in the first quarter, the Seahawks are looking more like themselves.

And just as I say that Jermaine Phillips does a tremendous job of sniffing out the flea-flicker. Seattle probably needs to, you know, occupy the safety in that situation.

That pushes the Seahawks back enough to take them out of field goal range.

And, boy, this Qwest Field crowd is quiet right now, isn't it?

So, where are they?, 4:55 p.m

So, one quarter into the game and we haven't seen Jerramy Stevens or David Boston yet? What gives? Dick Stockton just referenced Stevens, but it was in relation to the Seahawks signing Marcus Pollard to replace him. I haven't even heard Boston's name yet.

Bucs increase lead, 4:46 p.m

Matt Bryant kicks his second field goal of the game through the uprights to give Tampa Bay a 6-0 lead. It was a 32-yard kick.

Sure, the Bucs would love a touchdown at this point. But they've dominated the first quarter in every way — from yardage and time of possession to the score. The turnover is the only blemish.

Remember how the Bucs had the worst percentage of three-and-out possessions in the NFL last year? The Bucs have had the ball three times today and have gotten at least one first down each time.

Big penalty, 4:43 p.m

Seattle's Leroy Hill was called for roughing the passer on the same play where Marcus Trufant tipped away the possible TD pass to Joey Galloway.

Just saw the replay. That was completely stupid on the part of Hill. The ball was out of Garcia's hands for a good 2 to 3 seconds before the hit came. Awful penalty and a huge break for the Bucs because they're in Seahawks territory for the second time today.

Bucs moving the ball, 4:40 p.m

Boy, Jeff Garcia got hut by Lofa Tatupu and Julian Peterson. But he got that pass off to Ike Hilliard for the first down.

That pass rush came on a delay, so the linemen had already committed to their blocks. Remember — the Bucs are using a lot of one-back sets this year, so those kinds of jail break-type pass rushes are going to happen from time to time. Having a vet like Garcia back there is of great benefit in those situations.

BTW, Garcia is 7-of-8 for 118 yards with 2:30 left in the first quarter. Not bad.

Returning committee, 4:36 p.m

Joey Galloway broke off a great return on the second punt return of the game for Tampa Bay, but it's coming back for a holding call. Ike Hilliard returned the first punt of the game for 12 yards.

I still don't agree with using Galloway on punt returns. That's putting your most explosive return weapon at risk.

BTW, Ronde Barber committed the penalty, robbing the Bucs of great field position in Seahawks territory.

Hilliard starts, 4:32 p.m

Just to update you, Ike Hilliard started at flanker instead of Maurice Stovall. So that depth chart on the Bucs Web site is about as handy as a flat tire.

Arron Sears did start on offense at left guard.

Fox just showed Tanard Jackson as a starter for the Bucs, one of four rookies to start on opening day for defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and Regan Upshaw are the others.

That means that Kevin Carter started at right defensive end for Tampa Bay, though I saw Gaines Adams out there on the third play of the game.

And, Michael Pittman started at fullback.

Bucs score first, 4:30 p.m.

Matt Bryant's 39-yard field goal gives the Bucs a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. Aside from the fumble by Carnell Williams, the Bucs have put together three solid possessions thus far. And I'm including the three-and-out the defense put together.

Nice catch, Joey, 4:26 p.m.

There's a huge catch by Joey Galloway on a long pass from Jeff Garcia. Seattle's Kelly Jennings was in coverage. That puts the Bucs in great position to score the first points of this game. That could be critical because the crowd at Qwest Field can be a huge factor. Teams making their first visit to Seattle's new home are 6-18.

Inactives, 4:20

Seattle: T Tom Ashworth, DE Baraka Atkins, DE Jason Babin, WR Ben Obomanu, RB Alvin Pearman, WR Courtney Taylor, G Mansfield Wrotto, DE Ellis Wyms.

Tampa Bay: G Dan Buenning, LB Patrick Chukwurah, T Anthony Davis, QB Bruce Gradkowski (3rd QB), DB Anthony Madison, QB Chris Simms, DT Ryan Sims, LB Jeremiah Trotter.

It's not a big surprise that Trotter is inactive. He's only had since Tuesday to learn the defense. Expect him to play some next week at home.

With Gradkowski named the third quarterback, that means you'll see Luke McCown if Jeff Garcia is injured.

Bucs turn it over, 4:18

About the worst possible thing happened to his offensive team as Cadillac Williams caught Jeff Garcia's short pass and then fumbled it.

So four plays, three passes, one first down and one turnovers. The Bucs are off to a flying start.

Was that Chris Simms?, 4:17

On the second play of the game Jeff Garcia had a pass batted down. Or was that Chris Simms in disguise>

Caddy gets his first carry and gets a first down.

Three things to watch, 3 p.m.

Here are three things to watch during today's game in Seattle:

Will Caddy run? Between the three-wide receiver sets and the young offensive line, will there be enough room for RB Cadillac Williams to maneuver against the Seahawks?

Rookies report. DE Gaines Adams, OG Arron Sears and S Tanard Jackson are expected to start today. How will they perform in their first regular-season game?

Garcia under the gun. How much of a difference will 37-year old QB Jeff Garcia make to the offense? Everyone wants to know.

Call this the season of distraction, 2:45 p.m.

Jon Gruden can be excused for taking a moment today just to be relieved the regular season is underway.

For the past three months his Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been the model of off-the-field distractions.

They've come one after another since cornerback Torrie Cox's four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy came down in June.

What else has happened, you ask?

Well, there was Simeon Rice's release just before training camp. Or there's the saga of Chris Simms, from the quarterback's sore elbow to whether he would make the roster (he did). Don't forget fullback Mike Alstott's move to injured reserve for a neck injury after two days of what the team described as "soreness." Tackle Luke Petitgout missed a week of practice for a sore back.

Now, there's wide receiver David Boston's DUI arrest in Pinellas Park and tight end Jerramy Stevens' conviction for DUI and two other charges in Arizona on Friday.

Stevens is back with the team and is expected to play today, as is Boston.

"Hopefully we can get this whole matter resolved and move on with what I think is a pretty damn good kid (Stevens) and football player's life," Gruden said on Friday.

Stevens had no comment after practice on Friday. There is no date for sentencing, but this is the latest in a litany of off-the-field incidents for Stevens in his six-year career and it could lead to a suspension from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The league is investigating.

They're surely keeping tabs on Boston, too. The Pinellas-Pasco prosecutor's office is pursuing a DUI charge against Boston after his urinalysis test found him to have at least one illegal substance in his system. That substance has not been disclosed.

Boston professed his innocence in a statement released through the Buccaneers on Thursday. He has had no further comment.

"Yes, he's playing," Gruden said of Boston. "He's making the trip. Absolutely. Why wouldn't he?"

Boston has one league suspension in his past for violation of the league's substance abuse policy, specifically for performance-enhancing drugs.

Boston's case may also lead to a NFL suspension.

Gruden said on Friday that he hasn't looked upon this offseason as being a weird one.

"Every team in the league has got a lot of issues to deal with, and you've got to deal with them," Gruden said.


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