Pictures of the Top 10 Seahawks in Week 11, according to their Pro Football Focus player grade.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks are like long-estranged siblings who have come back into each other's lives. It's a welcome reunion, but there's still some family tension bubbling under the surface.
The NFL expanded from 26 to 28 teams in 1976, with the Buccaneers technically coming in as the 27th franchise and the Seahawks as the 28. The league made sure to pair the two newcomers off for a game in that inaugural '76 season, but otherwise Tampa Bay played an all-AFC slate and Seattle faced only NFC squads. The following year, the Bucs were placed in the NFC Central and the Seahawks landed in the AFC West, the latter being the far more geographically logical choice.
During another wave of expansion in 2002 (if adding one team can be called a "wave"), the league realigned into eight four-team divisions that corrected some geographical weirdness. And to make the numbers work, the Seahawks agreed to switch to the NFC. That was the catalyst for the suddenly closer relationship between the two '76 siblings, as they now shared a conference. Each team has also won a Super Bowl since that realignment.
Before the '02 switch, Bucs-Seahawks get-togethers were rare. After a second game in 1977, the two teams wouldn't reunite again for 17 seasons, and even a little mini-run of three games in six years only gave the two teams a total of five matchups in their first 28 shared NFL seasons. Seattle own the first four before Tampa Bay got its first victory in the series in 1999.
Since 2004, the NFC West has been in the Bucs' rotation every three years, and additional one-off matchups in 2006, 2007 and 2008 have meant a run of eight meetings in 13 years, including the one this Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. The Seahawks won four of the last seven, including the most recent game in 2013, in Seattle.
That one was far tighter than most expected, as the Buccaneers brought an 0-7 record to Seattle to face a 7-1 Seahawks team that would go on to win the Super Bowl at the end of the season. The visiting Bucs stunned the "12th Man" crowd by running out to a 21-0 lead with three straight scoring drives in the second quarter. Quarterback Mike Glennon ended the first two with touchdown passes to tight end Tim Wright and wide receiver Tiquan Underwood. The Buccaneers even tried a surprise onside kick in between those two drives, and it worked before being nullified by a penalty. Still, when rookie RB Mike James pulled off a tricky jump-toss halfback pass to tight end Tim Crabtree, the Bucs had their three touchdown lead. Unfortunately, three huge penalties on the next drive allowed the Seahawks to score a touchdown of their own just before halftime. The second half was all Seattle despite James, in just his second NFL start, rushing for 158 yards. The Seahawks tied the game at 24-24 with two minutes left in regulation on Russell Wilson's 10-yard TD pass to WR Doug Baldwin and the Bucs' last drive stalled at midfield. The Buccaneers won the toss in overtime but went three-and-out and a heavy dose of Marshawn Lynch put the Seahawks in position for Steven Hauschka's 27-yard game-winner.
All told, the Seahawks lead the all-time series, 8-4, though a three-game run for the Bucs from 2008-10 narrowed the gap a bit. The series started with the Bucs' closest game in that inaugural 1976 season, as Seattle held on to a 13-10 lead when Dave Green's potential tying field goal with 42 seconds to play was blocked. Steve Spurrier started at quarterback for the Buccaneers but the first touchdown pass in team history was actually thrown by running back Louis Carter to wide receiver Morris Owens. Jim Zorn, who would later start one game for the Buccaneers during the 1987 players' strike, hit WR Sam McCullum for Seattle's only touchdown of the game.
That first meeting was at Tampa Stadium, so the Bucs went to Seattle for the first time in 1977. It was close once again, with the Seahawks sealing the 30-23 win this time with an interception off Bucs quarterback Gary Huff in the Seattle end zone with three minutes left. After that, 17 years would pass before the two teams would meet again to create some more late-game drama. The Buccaneers led that game in Seattle, 21-15, with 90 seconds to play and appeared to close the book on the victory when S Marty Carter caused and recovered a fumble by Bennie Blades on fourth-and-12. However, an illegal contact flag was thrown on CB Mike McGruder on the other side of the field, keeping the drive alive and leading to Mack Strong's game-winning seven-yard touchdown with 42 seconds to play in a 22-21 final.
Continuing the theme, the Seahawks won their fourth straight in the series in 1996 when they scored two touchdowns in the last three minutes of regulation to steal a 17-13 win at Tampa Stadium. The Buccaneers finally got in the win column three years later when they traveled to Seattle in the midst of what would be a six-game winning streak that propelled them to the NFC Central title. QB Trent Dilfer saw his last action as a Buccaneer in that contest as he sustained a shoulder injury, leading to the insertion of rookie Shaun King. The Bucs used five interceptions in that game to pull away for a 16-3 victory.
As mentioned, back-to-back three-game winning streaks by the Seahawks and then the Buccaneers followed to get the series to its current spot. The first of Tampa Bay's three wins was in prime time, a Sunday Night Football game in Week Seven of 2008 that was more lopsided than the 20-10 final suggests. Tampa Bay outgained Seattle in that contest, 402 yards to 176, with the Seahawks, led by QB Seneca Wallace getting just 44 yards before halftime. The Bucs' defense led the way again in 2009, as a 24-7 win in Seattle was built on four interceptions, including two by Elbert Mack. Finally, the Bucs posted the most lopsided win in the entire series in the penultimate weekend of 2010, pummeling the Seahawks, 38-15, behind a 439-174 yardage advantage. RB LeGarrette Blount ran for 169 yards and QB Josh Freeman threw a career-high five touchdown passes, including two each to TE Kellen Winslow and WR Mike Williams.
- Overall Season Series: Seattle leads, 8-4
- Bucs' Home Record: 2-4
- Bucs' Road Record: 2-4
- Current Streak: Lose 1 (2013)
- Buccaneers' Longest Winning Streak: 3 (2008-10)
- Seahawks' Longest Winning Streak: 4 (1979-96)
- Regular Season Point Total: Buccaneers 208, Seahawks 197
- Most Points in a Game, Buccaneers: Buccaneers 38-15 (2010)
- Most Points in a Game, Seahawks: Seahawks 30-23 (1977)
- Most Points, both teams: 53, twice (1977, 2010)
- Fewest Points in a Game, Buccaneers: Seahawks 20-6 (2011)
- Fewest Points in a Game, Seahawks: Buccaneers 16-3 (1999)
- Fewest Points in a Game, both teams: Seahawks 10-6 (2004)
Bucs' Game-by-Game Record vs. the Seahawks: