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How the Buccaneers caught Seahawks off guard with previously futile rushing attack

Tampa Bay rushed for over 160 yards.

Seattle Seahawks v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks would’ve loved to go into the bye week with a fifth straight win, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to deny them in Germany and drop them down to 6-4.

By far the biggest surprise out of this one was the effectiveness of Tampa Bay’s rushing offense, which racked up 164 yards (subtracting Tom Brady’s kneeldowns) and only had one play lose yards. Previously, Tampa’s rushing offense had ranked 30th in DVOA and 32nd in EPA/play. They sure didn’t look like it in Munich!

“I was really disappointed,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said post-game. “They have not been running the ball very consistently, so coming into the game, we were hoping we could just keep it under wraps and be able to deploy for the throwing game. They did better than we thought they would. They finished running the ball in the fourth quarter, which kills me. That last drive, to not get the ball back and get our chance again, that’s just not the way we expect to play or the way we ever want to put it out there. So that’s unfortunate. But give them credit. They mixed it well. I think the way they mixed their play passes with Tom, as they’ve always done, it’s nothing new. We’ve seen it a million times. That was really effective to keep us a little bit off balance within the run game.”

It appears as if the Buccaneers coaching staff outfoxed Seattle by breaking tendencies and running more out of shotgun than they have in the entirety of the Tampa Tom era.

Based on what Cody Barton told the Seahawks post-game show, the Bucs hit them with what they never saw coming.

There were certainly a lot of holes and cutback lanes for ball-carriers to find daylight, so there might have been blocking combos and other play designs that had the Seahawks flummoxed and unable to adjust for virtually the whole game. And it wasn’t just more gun running that had Seattle in shambles.

Tampa rookie Rachaad White came into the Seahawks game with just 117 yards on 38 carries, but he exploded for 105 yards on 22 carries in by far his heaviest workload of his young pro career.

Seattle’s run defense struggled badly against the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, and New Orleans Saints, but had done an excellent job in shutting down Austin Ekeler, Saquon Barkley, and James Conner over the past few weeks. This was certainly an unwelcome turn of events in Munich but hopefully that was just a strategic blip and not a return to the early-season form.