The Buccaneers rank eighth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (94.6) as well as eighth in yards allowed per carry (3.8), a year after finishing first in both of those categories in 2012. The Seahawks, led by RB Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch and supplemented by a quarterback who can run in Russell Wilson, are averaging 154.4 ground yards per game. Seattle is one of only three teams in the NFL that has called more running plays than passing plays so far this season, and only San Francisco has run the ball on a higher percentage of plays than Seattle’s 51.3%.
“They’re very talented players,” said Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano. “Russell Wilson is like another running back once he tucks the ball. He’s 5-11, he’s thick, he’s strong – you’re really going to have to wrap up and tackle him. Marshawn Lynch is one of the most physical and talented running backs in the National Football League. He is a downhill runner, so we are really going to have to tackle well, and the scheme they run forces you to tackle those guys in space.”
The Bucs’ run defense has succeeded by plugging the middle with DTs
In addition to that list, the Buccaneers are also heading into Week Nine, and the rest of the season, without their #2 receiver,
What that means is an opportunity for the likes of wide receivers
“We know what the challenge is without Doug Martin, without Mike Williams,” said Schiano. “Chris Owusu is not going to be able to play. There are some key skill guys who are not going to be involved in the game, and that’s when a guy like Dawson or Page steps up. That’s when a guy like Mike James steps up. We have full confidence in them and we’re looking forward to seeing them play today.”
It will be the job of rookie QB
And he’ll have to do it with the sonic backdrop of the NFL’s loudest stadium. The crowd noise at CenturyLink Field routinely nudges north of 130 decibels, and that makes play-calling and offensive management quite difficult. The Buccaneers turned their own practice-field speakers up as high as ever this week, but it will still be a challenge to overcome Seattle’s 12th Man.
“I think it might be the loudest stadium indoor or outdoor, believe it or not, which is a testament to their fans,” said Schiano. “But we’ve prepared, as much as you can. We work with noise all the time, but we amped it up a little bit this week. I think we’re prepared for it, although until you get in it… Other than the noise, it’s those guys across from you that can give you problems.
“Really, the receivers don’t rely on verbal [communication] that much anyway. It’s the interior people that have to get the message. If you’ve been down on the field, you know – you could be standing right next to a guy and you have to scream for him to be able to hear you, and part of it is seeing his lips, whether it’s in the huddle on third down when the crowd’s going crazy or it’s on the line of scrimmage. So you avoid doing a lot of two-play checks and things like that, and if you do them they have to be non-verbal communication.”
Seattle had no pregame changes to its lineups, as none of its seven inactive players were starters. Those inactives are QB B.J. Daniels, S Jeron Johnson, RB Christine Michael, FB Derrick Coleman, T Breno Giacomini, T Caylin Hauptmann and DE Benson Mayowa. Johnson, Coleman and Giacomini were out due to injury.
The Buccaneers and Seahawks will kick off their Week Nine matchup at CenturyLink Field at 4:00 p.m. ET, and the game will be carried on television by Fox. The action will also be broadcast by the Buccaneers Radio Network and its flagship station, US 103.5 FM. That radio broadcast will be available via a live stream on Buccaneers.com. Visit Buccaneers.com throughout the day to for further reports on the game action, including coverage of the team’s postgame press conferences.