Monday, October 20, 2008

Bucs Defense, Garcia Waltz Past Seahawks

By JC De La Torre

It was a surreal atmosphere at Raymond James Stadium Sunday Night. With the Rays playing Game 7 of the ALCS at the exact same time, the fans' attention at Ray Jay was split down the middle. Several thousands of fans (including myself) brought radios to the game and gave updates to the ongoing game to fellow fans, causing the strange cheering outburts in the stadium at times when nothing was going on on the field. The Bucs were kind enough to keep the score of the Rays game on one of the sideline scoreboards, so with every run the Rays scored - the fans exploded in cheers. The would explode into cheers at halftime, too as the Bucs honored one of their greatest - Mike Alstott.

There was a football game played at Raymond James, btw. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers throttled the Seattle Seahawks 20-10 in a game that wasn't nearly as close as the score indicated. The Tampa Bay offense, behind the exception play of Jeff Garcia and Antonio Bryant, rolled up 402 yds, 22 first downs (including a remarkable 10 of 18 on third down), and controlled the clock for an unreal 41:41. The well rested Bucs defense continued its dominant performance, limiting the Seahawks to a meager 176 yds of total offense and forcing two turnovers.

The Bucs opened the scoring in the first quarter on a 47 yd TD pass from Garcia to Bryant to give the Bucs an early 7-0 lead. The Bucs saw a scoring oppotunity go by the boards when WR Ike Hillard fumbled after a devastating helmet-to-helmet hit that knock him unconscious. It was a scary moment for the Bucs, as Hillard laid motionless on the field for several minutes. Thankfully, Ike came to and was about rise to his feet and take a seat on the cart for his ride out of the stadium.

The Bucs would open up the scoring in the 2nd quarter as Earnest Graham capped a 6 play 59 yd drive with a 1 yd run. Aquib Talib's interception would set Bucs up for another scoring drive, this time the Bucs went 5 plays for 25 yds and capped it off with a 27 yd Matt Bryant field goal to spot the Bucs to a 17-0 lead. Bryant would miss another field goal attempt on the closing moments of the first half.

At halftime, Bucs Superstar Mike Alstott was honored and had his jersey retired by the Buccaneers. It was an emotional half-time speech for Alstott, who expressed his love for Tampa Bay and its fans, while the Buc fans returned the love. It was a great moment and a nice send off for the A-train.

The second half was basically a snoozer as the Bucs grounded out the clock, after a long punt return set up a Seattle field goal, the Bucs would respond with a clock crushing 9:34 drive than spanned 67 yds on 16 plays and was capped by yet another Matt Bryant field goal, giving the Buccaneers a 20-3 lead. Late in the game, the Seahawks would get a garbage touchdown, ending the Bucs 7 quarter no-touchdown streak.

For the second straight week, the Bucs put together a dominating performance, this time under the bright lights of Sunday Night Football. Next up for the Bucs - the Dallas Cowboys - a team in a bit of disarray with the injury to their starting QB and losing 3 of their last 4.

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