SEATTLE — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't leave with a victory, but they earned Seattle's respect. The Seahawks had to stage the biggest comeback in franchise history en route to an overtime victory that ran their home winning streak to 12 games.
“When we were watching film this week, we didn't understand why they were 0-7,'' Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner said of the Bucs. “We felt like we were playing a really good team. They came out and kicked us in the mouth.''
But after grabbing a 21-0 lead, Tampa Bay added only a Rian Lindell field goal the rest of the way as Seattle rallied for a 27-24 triumph.
“We just faced the toughest defense in the NFC, maybe the entire NFL, in their place and we sustained drives,'' Bucs guard Davin Joseph said. “We did a lot of positive things, but that 'W' still finds a way to stay out of Tampa Bay.
“After a game like this, I'm sick to my stomach, but we're a better team than we were last week. I'm feeling better about my teammates and coaches because the work we're putting in is starting to pay off.''
Seattle coach Pete Carroll came away impressed with Tampa Bay's resolve.
“Tampa Bay played really good today,'' Carroll said. “We saw them all week long and thought they were a really good looking group. I know their record doesn't show that, but when you watch the film and how hard they play and how tough they are and the schemes they throw at you, I really wasn't surprised they would play well.''
Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate was shackled by cornerback Darrelle Revis, but the former Notre Dame standout turned in a huge play on special teams late in the third quarter with Tampa Bay ahead 24-14.
Tate fielded Michael Koenen's punt at his own 4-yard line and weaved his way for a dazzling 71-yard return, eluding a half-dozen tacklers along the way.
That set up a Steven Hauschka field goal that pulled Seattle within a touchdown and energized a sellout crowd that sensed a momentum shift.
“Golden's a great football player,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “If he makes a mistake back there trying to do something, great — I'm OK with that. It's a risk-reward, and look what he did.''
Tate entered the game averaging 11.3 yards per punt return. He averaged 30.7 yards on three returns against the Bucs.
“Once I got the ball in my hand, I just played backyard football,'' Tate said. “I set my blocks up and just ran.''
Former Bucs defensive end Michael Bennett played on sure passing downs and was credited with one of Seattle's three sacks against Mike Glennon when the rookie quarterback fell down early in the third quarter as Bennett was bearing down on him.
“They have a really good offensive line and a defensive line,'' Bennett said of the Bucs. “So they just try to run every time to keep the clock going.''
Tampa Bay rushed for 205 yards against the NFC's No. 1 defense, but Bennett was more impressed with Glennon, who completed 17 of 23 passes.
“He did a great job of keeping the plays alive,'' said Bennett, who departed as a free agent after leading the Bucs with nine sacks in 2012. “He broke out of a lot of sacks today.''
Glennon has not thrown an interception in his past 141 pass attempts, spanning more than three games. ... The Bucs finished plus-3 in winning the turnover battle for the first time this season. ... Tampa Bay picked off Russell Wilson twice at CenturyLink Field, where he had been 11-0 in his NFL career with 22 touchdown passes and only four interceptions entering the game. ... Seattle had forced at least two turnovers in each game during a 7-1 start, but the Seahawks didn't register a takeaway on Sunday. ... Tampa Bay converted seven of eight third-down situations in the first half, but was one of seven the rest of the way. ... After taking a 24-7 lead on the opening drive of the second half, the Bucs punted on their final five possessions. ... Bucs tackle Donald Penn made his 100th consecutive start.