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TAMPA, Fla. — The Seattle Seahawks lost 14-5 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, ending a three-game winning streak while falling to 7-3-1 on the season.
On a day when the Seahawks were missing some key players on both sides of the ball, including safety Earl Thomas, defensive end Michael Bennett, cornerback DeShawn Shead and center Justin Britt, they struggled early on defense before playing well the rest of the way, and had a hard time getting going on offense the entire game. The loss ends a 98-game streak (postseason included) of leading or being within one score in the fourth quarter, dating back to the 2011 season.
Here are five rapid reactions to the loss:
1. It was a tough game for the offense.
The Seahawks had a hard time moving the ball against a tough Buccaneers defense, gaining just 245 yards while going 1 for 11 on third down. A big part of the problem was Tampa’s pass rush, which recorded six sacks and had Russell Wilson under pressure for much of the afternoon. Making things even more difficult as the Seahawks tried to get back into the game was their field possession, with three second-half drives starting inside the 10-yard line.
The offense also committed three turnovers after having just one in their previous seven games.
2. The defense turned things around after a slow start.
The Buccaneers opened the game with touchdown drives of 83 and 67 yards to take a 14-0 lead, and it appeared the Seahawks defense might be in trouble minus so many key players. But Seattle’s defense rebounded in a big way, stopping Tampa Bay on its next nine possessions to keep the Seahawks in the game even as the offense struggled to score points.
In addition to coming up with big stops, the defense also forced two turnovers, a fumble forced by Ahtyba Rubin and recovered by Steven Terrell, and an interception by Kam Chancellor that kept the Buccaneers from turning a Seattle turnover into points.
3. K.J. Wright had another big game.
Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner came into Sunday’s game with a league-best 108 tackles, and he added 10 more on Sunday, but he’s not the only Seahawks linebacker having a Pro-Bowl caliber season, not with how well K.J. Wright is playing. And Wright was outstanding again against Tampa Bay, recording eight tackles, including two for a loss. Both tackles for loss were vintage Wright, with him sniffing out a screen on one play, then perfectly reading a run play and shedding his block on third-and-1 to force a punt. Wright also made a big tackle at the end of the half that kept the Buccaneers from getting off a field goal attempt before time ran out.
4. Russell Wilson has his legs back.
While Sunday’s game was a struggle for the offense, one encouraging sign was the way quarterback Russell Wilson ran the ball. Wilson has shown with his movement in recent weeks that he is getting past the knee and ankle injuries that limited him earlier this season, but before Sunday he had yet to really be a big part of the running game. That changed against the Buccaneers, however, with Wilson putting up a season-best 80 rushing yards on eight carries. Prior to this game, Wilson had just 79 rushing yards this season, and his season high was 19 yards in last week’s win over the Eagles. Wilson had big runs both on read-option keepers and scrambling, a positive sign for the offense going forward.
5. It was a rough day for the entire NFC West.
While the result was hardly what the Seahawks were hoping for on Sunday, they did maintain their three-game lead over Arizona in the NFC West thanks to the Cardinals’ loss in Atlanta. In fact, the entire division struggled on the road Sunday, with San Francisco losing at Miami and Los Angeles losing at New Orleans.