SEATTLE -- It took three separate beautifully executed offensive drives that all could have individually served as the game-winning possession for the Seahawks to finally put away the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in overtime.
Jacob Hollister caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson on the opening drive of the extra session to lift Seattle to victory.
The 75-yard overtime drive immediately followed a well-executed two-minute drill that should have won the Seahawks the game in regulation. Seattle marched 53 yards in six plays with just 46 seconds left in the fourth quarter before Jason Myers missed a game-winning field goal try from 40 yards out to keep the game going a little longer. A 53-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to DK Metcalf on the drive before that gave Seattle a 34-27 lead with just 4:34 left to play that also could have served as the definitive score.
Seattle's offense had to go toe-to-toe with a Buccaneers attack that was slicing its way through the defense most of the afternoon. Mike Evans caught 12 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown as the secondary struggled to handle the Tampa Bay standout. It was the most yards allowed by a Seattle defense since DeAndre Hopkins caught eight passes for 224 yards and a touchdown in 2017 for the Houston Texans.
It may not have had the same gravitas as Jermaine Kearse's walk-off game-winning touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in the 2014 NFC Championship game, but the explosion of energy within the stadium upon Hollister's touchdown grab was somewhat reminiscent. Now Seattle, 7-2 through nine games, gets a Monday night road trip to face the undefeated 8-0 San Francisco 49ers next week.
But first, here are the takeaways from the win over the Buccaneers.
-- Seahawks came out of the gate throwing against league's top run defense.
The Seahawks want to run the football but they were facing the league's top-ranked rush defense in the Buccaneers.
Seattle's offense adapted its game-plan and came out throwing instead. The Seahawks dropped back to pass on eight of its first nine offensive plays of the game. Russell Wilson completed six of his first eight passes for 77 yards and a touchdown as Seattle's offense got of to a fast start against the Buccaneers.
The Seahawks got their running game involved eventually too. Chris Carson became the first running back all season to gain 100 yards against the Buccaneers with 105 yards on 16 carries. The 145 rushing yards in total by Seattle also is the most by a Tampa Bay opponent this year, eclipsing the 112 yards posted by the New Orleans Saints in Week 5.
The coaching staff knew that trying to slam into the line of scrimmage against standout nose tackle Vita Vea could be a futile effort. They tried to get their running game involved at times when Vea was getting a breather on the sidelines. Meanwhile, Wilson and the passing attack were more than up to the task of carrying the mail.
Wilson tossed for 378 yards and a career-high matching five touchdowns. It's just the third time in his career that Wilson has thrown for five touchdowns in a single game. The previous games came against Pittsburgh and at Baltimore in the second-half of the 2015 season.
"With Russell back there, it don’t matter. You have a chance," head coach Pete Carroll said. "You have a chance no matter what’s going on. He played phenomenal football today. The calls that he had to make, the adjustments that he made, the throws, just the variety of things that we threw today that was available to us and that we went after, it was an array of passes and concepts and principles, and it was really, really exciting to see our guys pull all that together."
Wilson has now thrown for 22 touchdowns and just one interception through his first nine games of the season.
-- Jason Myers is becoming a potentially big problem for Seattle.
When the Seahawks signed Myers to a four-year deal this offseason, they believed they had adequately addressed their kicking situation after two less-than-stellar seasons from Blair Walsh and Sebastian Janikowski. But the AFC Pro Bowl kicker from a season ago has left much to be desired.
Myers has missed three of his last 10 field goal attempts over the last three games and is now just 12-of-17 on the season. Myers also missed an extra point attempt on Sunday as well, his second miss of the season on PATs. Myers has only converted one field goal longer than 42 yards all season, which was a 54-yard kick against the Atlanta Falcons last week.
"I was trying to get my feels back throughout the game, but it was just kind of a grind out there today," Myers said. "Sometimes the ball just doesn’t go where you want it, so that’s kind of what happened."
Myers missed a 47-yard try wide left in the second quarter and then bounced an extra point try off the right upright later in the frame. The 40-yard attempt to win the game was like the extra point try where it was pushed out right the entire way.
"It doesn’t matter if you make ‘em or miss ‘em; you just gotta go to the next kick," Myers said. "You don’t get to make up for (missed) kicks, so you just go to the next one and keep rolling."
The contract Myers signed already made it unlikely Seattle would make a change during the season. Carroll made it clear that he intends to stick with Myers moving forward despite the struggles.
"Our kicker, Jason Myers, he’s our kicker," Carroll said. "It didn’t go right today for him, but it’s going to. So, we’re counting on him to come back next week and kick the winners and do all the things we need to do. He has a magnificent talent, and today it got hard and didn’t work out right. But, we won anyway. Our guys won for him. They all said that in the locker room; they cared about him, they got his back, and it couldn’t have been more clear about guys coming together for one of their own."
-- The defense isn't improving despite having all its key contributors back.
The Seahawks are missing one piece from their desired starting defense at the start of the year. The loss of Tedric Thompson at safety is the only loss on the defensive side of the ball to injury so far this season. Jadeveon Clowney, Ziggy Ansah and Jarran Reed are all back and playing.
And yet, Seattle's defense is still struggling to slow down opposing offensive attacks.
The Buccaneers put up 34 points and gained 418 yards of offense on Sunday. They raced out to a 21-7 lead with touchdown drives on three of their first four possessions of the game with one three-and-out sprinkled in. Jameis Winston completed 29 of 44 passes for 335 yards and two touchdowns against the Seahawks defense on Sunday with Mike Evans proving virtually uncoverable.
"We struggled. We struggled quite a bit," Carroll said. "We thought we would find more ways to get to the quarterback, and we only got him a couple times. Crucial times. Big plays when we got him. We knew that they would throw and catch the ball. We knew they could do that. They have terrific players, and they really chuck it down the field, and they take their chances. We thought we would make more plays on the ball as well. The running game was nothing for us today. That was not the issue. It was really just covering them or pressuring them, and we didn’t get enough of it."
Linebacker K.J. Wright said that the defense just isn't as in-sync as it needs to be at this stage.
“It’s across the board," Wright said. "It’s all 11 guys. It’s all 11 guys that are just not dominating the way that they need to. There’s nothing you can just point a finger at. It’s just everybody.
“The scheme is great. The scheme is fine. You see we’ll run a certain coverage and the guy that’s supposed to be there is not there. And so if you just fit up the scheme, the scheme will execute itself.”
Carroll said a few weeks ago that with Clowney, Ansah and Reed all back, the Seahawks pass rush should start finding itself to be a bit more productive in the coming weeks. So far, that prediction has yet to pan out.
The Seahawks got two sacks on Sunday to bring their season total to 15. They only had three additional hits on Winston during the game. Mychal Kendricks' sack of Winston forced a fumble that set up a go-ahead field goal from Myers.
But Seattle's defense isn't causing enough big plays and are currently still too leaky to feel very confident about. They still have seven games before a potential playoff journey begins to figure things out, but next week's meeting with the 49ers won't be any easier.
-- Tyler Lockett is blossoming into a truly fearsome wide receiver
Lockett is putting up numbers that could set new franchise records at the end of the season.
Lockett is currently on pace for 105 catches and 1,364 yards. If he even gets close to those totals at the end of the season, Lockett will set new records in both categories.
Doug Baldwin and Bobby Engram are tied for most receptions in a season with 94 in 2016 and 2007, respectively. Steve Largent holds the record for most receiving yards in a season with 1,287 in 1985. In fact, Largent has three of the four 1,200-yard receiving seasons in franchise history with Koren Robinson's 1,240 in 2002 serving as the other entry.
Lockett caught 13 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns against the Buccaneers on Sunday. That's a new career-high in receptions for Lockett and was two yards shy of his career-high in yards. Only Engram (14-139 at Cleveland, 2007) and Largent (15-261 at Detroit, 1987) have more in a single game.
"Tyler Lockett is ridiculous," Carroll said. "He’s so good, 13 catches today. A lot of tough things, and the variety of things that he did, the touchdown passes, too. But, just the amazing player that he is, and just continues to be marvelous to watch."
Lockett and Wilson have such a connection that a play is never dead between the two of them. Lockett has also shown an incredible knack for making contortions to catch passes despite a defender being in fairly close defensive position.
"I think Tyler has been special he makes my job easy he's really, really good," Wilson said. "He's as good as it gets. So he just keeps showing up, keeps making play after play. There's nothing that that man can't do."
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 03: Jacob Hollister #48 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates with teammates after scoring the game-winning touchdown in overtime against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a game at CenturyLink Field on November 03, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)