Peephole perspective: 18-0, Bucs. And they didn’t stop here, despite taking a 21-7 lead.
Player of the quarter: Sammie Stroughter. The former Oregon State wide receiver/punt returner did damage in both roles. He caught three passes for 33 yards and also had a 33-yard punt return.
Play of the quarter: On a second-and-16 play midway through the quarter, WR Deion Branch and CB Ronde Barber got their feet tangles as Branch was coming out of his break. Branch went down and FS Tenard Jackson intercepted Matt Hasselbeck’s pass. One play later, RB Carnell Williams scored on a 22-yard pass play to make it 13-7 Tampa Bay.
Line of the quarter: 9-11-118-2-0-150.9. That was Josh Freeman’s quarter. Nine of 11 passing, for 118 yards and two TD passes. That’s a 150.9 passer rating.
The bigger picture: The Bucs were productive and then self-destructive on the opening series of the half. They stormed into Seahawks’ territory on a 21-yard pass from Freeman to TE Kellen Winslow and Williams’ 20-yard run. But two false-start penalties and a holding call stalled the drive, leaving Barth to kick a 45-yard field that brought the Bucs to within a point.
The Bucs got the ball back quickly, when Barber tripped Branch coming out of his break and Jackson intercepted Hasselbeck’s pass. On the next play, Williams took a short pass from Freeman and ran 22 yards for a touchdown to make it 13-7 with 7:44 left in the quarter.
Again, the Seahawks did nothing with the ball when they got it back. Hasselbeck’s first-down pass to Branch was almost intercepted by Barber. On the second-down pass, Branch broke inside as Hasselbeck threw outside. Hasselbeck was hit by LB Geno Hayes as he threw incomplete on third down.
The Bucs got a boost when Stroughter returned Jon Ryan’s 51-yard punt 33 yards to the Seahawks’ 37. Freeman passed 16 yards to Stroughter on third-and-10. Freeman passed 9 yards to Stroughter on third-and-7. Freeman passed 6 yards to Ward on third-and-goal for a TD. The Bucs’ pass on the two-point conversion was incomplete, but the Seahawks had called timeout prior to the snap. Given a second chance, Freeman ran it in for the two-pointer.