RB Warrick Dunn breaks up a possible interception during a first half when almost nothing went wrong for the Buccaneers
With legendary former fullback Mike Alstott looking on, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put together an outstanding first half on both sides of the ball and headed to the locker room up 17-0 on the Seattle Seahawks.
After the defense forced a quick punt by the Seahawks on their opening possession, the Bucs' offense got on the board early. With Seattle coming on a blitz, QB Jeff Garcia lofted a deep pass to WR Antonio Bryant down the left sideline. The Seahawk defender tripped and fell, leaving Bryant all alone for the 47-yard score, putting the Bucs in front 7-0.
The Bucs threatened to extend the lead early in the second quarter, but a turnover ended a drive deep into Seattle territory. WR Ike Hilliard absorbed a massive blow to the head and lost control of the ball after catching a pass from Garcia. The play was initially ruled an incompletion, but upon review was changed to a fumble and Seattle took possession.
Despite the turnover, the Bucs still scored soon after. After forcing a quick punt from the Seahawks, the Bucs drove 59 yards in six plays to make it 14-0 on RB Earnest Graham's one-yard touchdown run. The big play of the drive was a 31-yard hookup between Garcia and TE Jerramy Stevens, who got open deep down the left sideline.
Then it was the defense's turn to shine. On the first play of Seattle's next possession, LB Barrett Ruud got a hand on a Seneca Wallace pass and rookie CB Aqib Talib ended up with the pick off the deflection. The offense eventually converted the turnover into three points on K Matt Bryant's 27-yard field goal, making it 17-0 with 3:16 left in the half.
The defense tallied its second takeaway moments later, as Wallace mishandled a snap from his center and Ruud ended up with the loose ball with just over two minutes to go in the half. Garcia drove the offense down the field and set up a 47-yard try for Bryant, but the kick fell short and the Bucs headed to the locker room up 17-0.
Garcia finished the half 19-of-24 for 226 yards and a touchdown, while the Bucs' defense limited Seattle to just 44 net yards and forced the two turnovers.
- The Bucs won the toss and deferred, so the Seahawks elected to receive the opening kickoff. The Tampa Bay kickoff unit bottled up CB Josh Wilson at the 12-yard line. On first down, QB Seneca Wallace hit TE John Carlson on a play action pass that picked up six yards. Wallace's second-down pass intended for WR Bobby Engram was incomplete and nearly picked off by CB Phillip Buchanon. Facing third-and-four, Wallace was able to convert, hitting WR Keary Colbert for a gain of eight yards. RB Julius Jones got the call on first down, picking up two yards. Jones then picked up another two yards on second down, setting up third-and-six at the 30. Wallace lofted a pass down the sideline for Carlson, but S Jermaine Phillips broke it up, forcing a punt. P Jon Ryan's punt was fielded by CB Aqib Talib, who was originally blocking on the play, and he was brought down at the Tampa Bay 37. * QB Jeff Garcia completed a pass on first down to TE John Gilmore over the middle for a gain of seven. Garcia's second-down pass was batted in the air by LB Leroy Hill and very nearly picked off. On third-and-three, Garcia found RB Earnest Graham on a pass to the left for a gain of six yards and a first down. RB Warrick Dunn got a handoff on the next play but was stuffed after picking up just one yard. Dunn then picked up another two yards on second down. Facing third-and-seven, Garcia threw deep down the left sideline to WR Antonio Bryant, who scored easily on the 47-yard pass after his defender fell down. K Matt Bryant's extra point was good, making it 7-0 in favor of the Bucs. * Wilson had better luck on his next kick return, taking this one back to the Seattle 33-yard line. On first down, Jones ran left for a gain of eight. Jones second-down run was sniffed out by CB Ronde Barber, however, and Jones was stopped for no gain. On third-and-two, Wallace was pressured by the Bucs' pass rush and threw incomplete, bringing Ryan on to punt for the second time. Ryan's punt bounced through the end zone, giving the Bucs the ball at their own 20. * Dunn took a handoff on first down and ran ahead for a gain of one. Garcia then completed a play action pass to Bryant for a gain of 11 and a first down. Dunn caught a pass out of the backfield on the next play and picked up five. Graham took the carry on second down but was stopped for no gain. On third-and-five, Garcia hit TE Jerramy Stevens, but the completion only went for two yards, leaving the Bucs short of a first down. P Josh Bidwell's punt was returned by RB Justin Forsett to the Seattle 15-yard line. * Wallace's pass on first down went through the hands of FB Leonard Weaver and was almost intercepted. RB Maurice Morris then picked up one yard on second down, setting up third-and-nine. On the play, Wallace was pressured again and had his pass tipped incomplete by DE Gaines Adams. Ryan's third punt of the game was fielded by WR Dexter Jackson, who was immediately brought down at the Bucs' 41-yard line. * On first down, Garcia dumped a short pass over the middle to Graham that picked up seven yards. Dunn then ran ahead on second down for a gain of six yards, moving the sticks. Garcia then threw an improvised shuffle pass on first down to FB Jameel Cook that picked up 12 yards and another first down. Graham was unable to corral a Garcia pass on the next play, however, as the ball fell incomplete. On second down at the Seattle 35, Graham took a handoff and picked up four. Facing third-and-six, Garcia was flushed from the pocket, but ran left and picked up eight yards to move the chains once again as the clock ran down to the end of the first quarter. With Graham and Dunn lined up in the backfield and Garcia at wide receiver, Graham took a handoff from Dunn and picked up three. Dunn then mishandled a Garcia pass on second down for an incompletion, setting up third-and-eight at the Seattle 21. On the play, Garcia eluded the rush and threaded a pass into a tight window to Bryant, picking up nine yards and moving the Bucs inside the red zone. On first down at the 11, Dunn burrowed up the middle for two yards. The Bucs then burned their first timeout of the half. After the break, Garcia threw a pass to WR Ike Hilliard, who absorbed a massive hit and lost control of the football. The play was originally ruled an incomplete pass, but after Hilliard left the field in the passenger seat of a cart, Seattle Head Coach Mike Holmgren challenged the call. After review, the officials determined that Hilliard had fumbled and Seattle recovered, so the Seahawks took over at their own four-yard line. * On first down, Morris took a handoff and picked up two. Wallace then completed a quick pass to WR Koren Robinson, who was immediately dragged down by CB Ronde Barber after a gain of six. On third-and-two at the 12, RB T.J. Duckett burst up the middle for a big gain, but a holding penalty nullified the play and moved the Seahawks back 10 yards. Now facing third-and-eight from the six, Wallace hit Weaver over the middle, but the play picked up just seven yards. Ryan's punt was fielded by Jackson and returned to the Tampa Bay 41-yard line. * On first down, Garcia completed a pass to TE Alex Smith for nine yards, and Dunn picked up the first down on the next play with a three-yard run. Now inside Seattle territory, Garcia connected with Stevens on a deep pass to the left that went for a gain of 31 yards. On first down at the Seattle 16, Garcia hit Bryant for a 13-yard gain all the way down to the one-yard line. On first-and-goal, Graham plowed up the middle but was stopped short of the goal line. Graham hit pay dirt on second down, though, taking a handoff from the fullback position and bursting across the goal line. Bryant's extra point pushed the Bucs' lead to 14-0. * Forsett returned the ensuing kickoff to the Seattle 31. The Bucs' stingy defense then notched their first turnover of the day as LB Barrett Ruud tipped a Wallace pass that ended up in the hands of rookie CB Aqib Talib. Talib returned the pick to the Seattle 35. * On first down, Garcia connected with Smith for 16 yards, then Dunn sprinted ahead for another nine yards on the next first down play. On second-and-one at the 10, Graham was strung out on a run to the left and lost a yard. The Bucs then used their second time out. On third-and-two, Dunn was stuffed very close to the first-down marker and measurement showed that the Bucs were just short. The Bucs kept the offense on the field in an attempt to draw Seattle offside, but then called their final timeout before bringing the field goal unit onto the field. Bryant's 27-yard try was good, making it 17-0 in favor of the Bucs. * Wilson got a big return on the ensuing kickoff, taking it all the way to the Tampa Bay 33-yard line. Jones picked up three yards up the middle on first down, but the Seahawks turned it over once again on second down. Wallace mishandled the snap, and Ruud recovered it, giving the Bucs possession at their own 31. * Dunn was wrapped up for a loss of one on first down as the clock ticked down to the two-minute warning. After the break, Dunn caught a short pass over the middle six yards and WR Michael Clayton then caught a pass for nine more yards and a first down as the Bucs hurried it up. Garcia and Dunn connected again for six yards, then Garcia found Stevens for 17 more yards before spiking the ball to stop the clock with 27 seconds left at the Seattle 32. A false start penalty backed the Bucs up five yards, making it second-and-15 at the 37. Garcia then hit Clayton over the middle for eight yards before spiking it again with two seconds left. Bryant came on to attempt a 47-yarder, but the kick fell short of the crossbar as the first half came to a close.