By David McDonnell
The Bucs are back as Tom Brady wound back the years to lead his team to a well-deserved 16-21 victory in Munich.
The foundation of the Bucs victory was their rushing attack, which finally stepped up and on the day they ran 44 times for 162 yards. This allowed Brady to continuously make the throws he needed to move his team down the field, especially on third downs.
In the second quarter, Brady found Julio Jones on a crossing-route, which caused confusion and the veteran receiver ran it in from 31 yards.
Running back Lenard Fournette was featuring heavily and he doubled the scores by finishing off their next drive from close range.
The Bucs defence allowed the Seahawks only 67 yards of offence in the first half as Seattle were finding it difficult to run the ball. A change of approach at halftime saw quarterback Geno Smith up the tempo by getting his passes out early and working his side up the field. A field goal got them on the board.
Brady had the Bucs moving again and a great catch on the sideline by Chris Godwin set them up in Seahawks’ territory but a crazy play saw Fournette try a pass from the pocket out wide to Brady. The ball was under-thrown by the running-back, which caused Brady to slip and allowed rookie Tariq Woolen to have the easiest of his seven interceptions this season.
It seemed like a seismic moment and although Seattle got back down to the redzone, Devin White managed to knock the ball from Geno’s grip to answer back with a Tampa Bay turnover. There was no more trickery from the Bucs on the resultant drive and Brady found Chris Godwin, for his first TD of the season.
It left the Seahawks 18 points behind with 11 minutes to go. Geno started getting the ball to Kenneth Walker and then he threw a strike to Tyler Lockett to close the gap.
Just when the Bucs looked to be putting the game to bed, Brady threw an interception. It was the first time he has thrown an interception in 400 passes, just two shy of the all-time record which stands at 402 passes by Aaron Rodgers.
It gave the Seahawks a lifeline with less than seven minutes to go and Smith found Lockett again for a big fourth down completion. Later on fourth and one, Geno pulled the ball and under pressure found Marquise Goodwin whose diving catch made it a five point game with four minutes to go.
By this stage the crowd were up on their feet cheering every play but Brady didn’t let the Seahawks have another play as he used his experience to wind down the clock. The crowd was in full voice singing John Denver’s Country Roads as time ran out to end the first NFL game in Germany.