Like clockwork, every six years Tampa Bay comes to Seattle on Nov. 3 and something crazy happens.
On Nov. 3, 2013, the Bucs took a 21-0 lead over a Seattle team that would go on to win the Super Bowl, only to see the Seahawks rally for a 27-24 win in overtime, still the biggest comeback in Seahawks history.
This Nov. 3, the Bucs took a 21-7 lead late in the first half lead before Seattle again rallied for an overtime win, this time 40-34.
We can’t wait for a rematch in Seattle in 2025.
Until then, here’s our weekly look at what we said might happen and what did.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
What we said: Russell Wilson vs. Tampa Bay’s blitz
What happened: A whole heck of lot. As noted before the game, Tampa Bay has blitzed more than any team in the NFL this season, doing so on 48% of opposing quarterbacks’ dropbacks before Sunday. We thought that might play into the Seahawks’ hands as Wilson entered the game with a 118 passer rating when blitzed.
But the Bucs didn’t back down, blitzing even more against Seattle then they had all season. According to NFL Next Gen stats, the Bucs blitzed (meaning, bringing five or more rushers) on 76% of snaps, the most of any team in the NFL since at least 2016.
Safe to say, it didn’t work. All the blitzing had the added effect of leaving Tamps Bay’s overmatched cornerbacks in man coverage most of the day. It was a perfect setup for Seattle. As Next Gen stats detailed, Wilson was 19-32 for 221 yards and three TDs against the blitz. Wilson was helped greatly by solid play up front as he felt pressure just five times on 35 dropbacks.
What we could have said: Bucs WR Mike Evans against Seattle secondary
Evans is one of the best receivers in the NFL — he’s now second in the league in receiving yards with 842 — so it was expected he’d make some plays Sunday. But Seattle simply had no answer for him as he caught 12 passes on 16 targets for 180 yards — with one of the incompletions coming on a bad pass when he was open for a potentially significant gain — while also drawing two penalties. The receptions were the most of Evans’ career, the yards the fourth most.
COACHING DECISION TO WATCH
What we said: To run or not to run?
What happened: Some wondered if Carroll would have any trouble going against Seattle’s generally preferred “establish the run’’ tendencies against a Tampa Bay pass defense that is one of the worst in the NFL in recent memory. But there was no hesitation at all. Seattle threw it on eight of its first nine plays and finished with 46 drop backs against just 22 runs, its heaviest pass-run percentage in more than a year.
What we could have said: To challenge PI or not challenge PI?
Carroll again made a curious challenge arguing Evans committed offensive pass interference with just over two minutes left. Officials needed less than a minute to rule against Carroll, who is now 1-7 in challenging interference. The failed challenge cost Carroll a time out, and he later made the candid admission that he didn’t think he would get it but thought he’d take a shot and further test that the NFL is increasingly reluctant to reverse PI calls in either direction. Maybe Seahawks fans can hope Carroll has gotten all the evidence of that he needs.
PLAYER TO WATCH
What we said: DK Metcalf
What happened: Metcalf had a career game in about 20 minutes, the time it took him to make four catches for 106 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter and overtime, en route to career bests of six catches and 123 yards overall. Metcalf is on pace for 52 catches for 933 yards, the latter of which would be the second most for a rookie in franchise history behind only Joey Galloway’s 1,039 in 1995.
Who we could have said: Tyler Lockett
After maybe the best game of his career — 13 receptions for 152 yards — Lockett is on pace for 105 receptions for 1,364 yards, which would each be franchise records (Bobby Engram and Doug Baldwin hold the record for catches at 94 and Steve Largent holds it for yards at 1,287).
What we could have said: The Seahawks secondary
What happened: On paper, not good. The Seahawks allowed 335 yards to Winston and are now allowing 278.1 per game, fifth-most in the NFL and on pace to shatter the team record of 259.3 allowed by the 2008 team that went 4-12 in Mike Holmgren’s final season as coach. But it’s not fair to blame solely the secondary as Seattle again had little consistent pass rush with just three quarterback hits, none by any of the team’s defensive ends.
What we could have said: The overtime coin toss?
Given how the Seahawks were moving the ball, the odds seemed really good they’d score on their first possession after winning the coin toss.
Indeed the Seahawks did score, improving their record to 6-3-1 in overtime since Wilson became QB in 2012. That raised the question of whether Tampa Bay should have gone for two when it scored following its final possession. But TB coach Bruce Arians said he never considered it, somewhat oddly referencing his success in Seattle with Arizona (4-1) and Seahawks kicker Jason Myers’ struggles (though his potential winning miss came after that).
WILD-CARD PLAYER WHO COULD SURPRISE
Who we said: Joey Hunt
What happened: The fourth-year player made his fourth career start at center in place of injured Justin Britt, who is out for the season. He had a really tough matchup going against mammoth Bucs tackle Vita Vea, the former UW standout, and Ndamukong Suh. But Hunt’s communication with Wilson seemed solid, and the way the Seahawks moved the ball spoke to some good overall play by the line. “I thought Joey played a great game for us under all of the circumstances of his first start in a long time, the guys that he was going against and the respect that we have for the players that he went against in the front,” Carroll said Monday. “He did a really good job. The communication was great. He played well.”
Who we could have said: Tight end Jacob Hollister
In just his fourth game with the Seahawks, Hollister proved an unlikely hero with two touchdown catches, including the winner in overtime. Hollister had just one touchdown in 26 career games before Sunday.
What we said: 8-27, Tampa’s record over the past five seasons when Jameis Winston attempts 35 or more passes
What happened: Make that 8-28 as Winston had a statistically fine day — 29-44 for 335 yards and two touchdowns. But as he’s also been known for, there was one critical mistake — a lost fumble early in the fourth quarter when the game was tied, Winston’s 16th turnover of the season.
What we could have said: First downs
Seattle had a whopping 31, the fifth-most in team history, with 23 passing, the most in team history. More amazing, Seattle was just 2-8 on third down, meaning the Seahawks got 29 first downs on first- or second-down plays.
THE FINAL WORD
What we said: Seahawks 31, Buccaneers 26
What happened: We weren’t far off (or Adam Jude wasn’t, anyway, as he made this pick). Shootouts may just have to be accepted as the norm for this team, which now ranks sixth in the NFL in points scored (27.6 per game) but 28th in points allowed (25.6). Seattle has given up 230 points in nine games, or just one fewer than the Seahawks allowed in all of the 2013 Super Bowl season.