Home USA News Buccaneers surprise Pete Carroll, Clint Hurt Seahawks plan

Buccaneers surprise Pete Carroll, Clint Hurt Seahawks plan

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The Seahawks’ plan for their visit to Germany was better than their plan for the game here.

They are explored Marienplatz, historic part of the old town of Munich. They trained alongside and visited Alphonse Davies and his Bayern Munich teammates in the training center of the European football state.

They did what coach Pete Carroll promised last week when he said, “The last thing we’re going to do is take the fun out of it. We will enjoy it.”

Until the game started on Sunday.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered the first game of the NFL regular season in Germany in last place in the league. They averaged just over 60 yards on the ground on 20 carries per game.

So that’s what Carroll, defensive coordinator Clint Hurt and the Seahawks planned: a minimal, inconsequential running back with Tom Brady that should have thrown the Buccaneers into Sunday’s game.

Seattle’s formula during the four-game winning streak in Bavaria has been to make opposing attacks one-dimensional. By relieving their defensive linemen of gap duties and running more offense, take away from their run. Force enemies to pass. Beats defenders with a carefree pass, rushing to open shots with plenty of third and long balls.

Against Tampa Bay, the Seahawks felt they didn’t need to make their opponent one-dimensional. There were already buccaneers.

Carroll and Hurt were so confident that the rush defense wouldn’t be an issue that they decided to leave running back Brian Mohn on Sunday.

Then the game started at Allianz Arena.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Rechaad White is blocked during the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader) Matthias Schrader AP

The beeches run a light front

Tampa Bay attacked Seattle by using two and three true defenders, rushing right at them. The Seahawks started with two linemen and outside linebackers Uchen Nwosu and Bruce Irving with them on the edge of the line. Then they went more into their “bear front,” with three defensive linemen jamming inside over the opposing center and two guards.

Tampa Bay rookie Rechaad White and veteran Leonard Fournette also bypassed the scheme.

As the Buccaneers continued to run, Seattle’s 35 1/2-year-old Al Woods had to stay in the game. He played a season-high 61% of the defensive snaps.

Myles Adams started for just the fifth time in 10 games. Against Tampa Bay, he played more than just a two-gap lineman. He played 21 snaps after being a healthy scratch in the previous two games.

In scheme and personnel, the Seahawks weren’t ready for what the Buccaneers did.

“They came out and broke some trends,” Seattle Pro Bowl quarterback Quandre Diggs said after his team quickly fell behind 14-0 and then 21-3 in the fourth quarter a 21-16 loss. “They controlled the ball more than they have in the past.”

Much more.

Tampa Bay eclipsed its season averages in rushing games and yards by the second quarter. White rushed for 105 yards, more than doubling his previous career high. That included a 29-yard run in which he brutally directed Diggs into the loose grass Bayern Munich field with a nasty stiff arm.

It was one of White’s seven runs on an 11-play drive to Tampa Bay’s dramatic touchdown: Brady’s 4-yard pass to Chris Godwin that was flagged by the officials for pass interference after the snap.

Tampa Bay led 21-3 early in the fourth quarter. The Seahawks were in desperation mode after that.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Rachaad White (29) tackles Seattle Seahawks’ Justin Coleman (28) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader) Matthias Schrader AP

“Tampa Bay did what they wanted to do, especially early in the game they were able to throw us off balance,” Carroll said. “We haven’t had this for a long time.

“I was very disappointed. They didn’t run the ball very consistently. So going into the game, we were hoping that we could just keep it under wraps and be able to deploy for a hurling game.

“They did better than we thought.”

That’s better.

The Buccaneers rushed 44 times for 161 yards. That’s 100 more yards than they ran to come. Unlike Tampa Bay’s first nine games, Brady’s throws came on the run, not because the Bucks couldn’t run.

“It kind of wears you out when you’re getting ready for them to throw the ball a little bit more,” Diggs said. “They executed it really well today, so I don’t blame them for continuing to stick with the run game.

“We just have to do our jobs better. At the end of the day, we have to get better.”

As Diggs pointed out, the Bucs ran on first downs, second downs, all downs. They converted 10 of 15 third downs.

Seattle, by contrast, was 1 of 9 on third down.

“It means what happened in the game, our inability to function there,” Carroll said.

No, not according to plan.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Leonard Fournette (7) runs for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough) Gary McCullough AP

“It’s another one of those things where I tell you they’ve broken some trends where we make them stop on one down and they start it again on the next down,” Diggs said. “It was kind of different than what they’ve done in the past.”

Anomaly? Worried about the Seahawks trend?

They thought they fixed it.

But Sunday looked and felt like the Seahawks from September to October as San Francisco, Atlanta and New Orleans ran all over them. Seattle had the NFL’s worst rushing defense, worst overall defense and a 2-3 record at the time.

The Giants entered Seattle last month with the second-best offense in the league. They were totally committed to it. But the Seahawks stopped it and New York won that game.

But Tampa Bay was reminded that if Seattle’s offense gets going, even if it gets shut down, that could be the way to beat the Seahawks.

“Once it got going, they stuck with it,” linebacker Jordin Brooks said of the Buccaneers. “That’s what’s in the league. We just have to do a better job.”

Brooks said his defense wasn’t physical enough early in the game when Tampa Bay went on a run and win.

Diggs did not respond to a question about whether his defense’s issues of rank lapses, breakaway liability and rebounding returned in September in Munich.

Maybe the defense captain didn’t want to.

“I just think, like I said, they broke some of the trends that we’ve been learning about throughout the week. You should expect that with Tom. He runs the game and he understands, and he and (Bucks offensive coordinator Byron) Leftwich are good there.

“I just think eventually we have to get some of that yardage out. When we get gap yardage and start getting stops and when we get them in the sticks, we have to get them in the sticks and keep them in the sticks.”

The Seahawks, 6-4, remain in first place in the NFC West with a half-game lead over the 49ers (5-4). Seattle has a bye after Europe this week. It hosts Las Vegas (2-7) on Nov. 27, then plays the struggling Rams (3-6) and hosts Carolina (3-6) in the next three games.

“Everyone can be the best. I think we could all do better,” Diggs said. “I think if we can put guys in the sticks and keep them in the sticks, we definitely play a lot better because we control what the guys want to do.”

Or maybe that’s just what Carroll said on the way to the plane and the 12 1/2-hour flight home to Seattle for the bye week.

“I would just say it’s very difficult to win them all,” the coach said, “to win every game.”

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Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll waves to fans as he walks onto the field before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough) Gary McCullough AP

Greg Bell is a Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019, he was named the Washington State Sports Journalist of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. He began covering the NFL in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season in 2005. In the past, he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the US Army, so he might ask you to give it up and give him a 10.

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