The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-6 in Seattle on Sunday, in a game that matched Mike Holmgren against friend and former assistant Jon Gruden.
Both teams looked good at times, but both showed obvious signs of rust in the first game of the regular season.
Tampa Bay had to settle for two early field goals after failing to put the ball in the end zone. Bucs QB Jeff Garcia looked strong in the first quarter, but wore down as the game went on and missed some time in the second half.
Carnell "Cadillac" Williams also looked good at times, but didn't return after suffering a rib injury late in the game.
On the plus side, the youthful Bucs defense played fast and aggressive. Led by perennial All-Pro Derrick Brooks, the Tampa D contained the Seahawks passing attack and held Deion Branch to zero catches.
As for the Seahawks, Holmgren and company didn’t get off to the smoothest start, but had to feel good about their overall effort.
QB Matt Hasselbeck was very efficient, completing 17 of 24 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown. Shaun Alexander looked like his old self, with over a hundred yards and a touchdown of his own.
The 'Hawks receiving corps, particularly Branch, needs to step up and catch more passes.
The 2007 Seattle defense may be the best unit the franchise has ever had. Julian Peterson and Patrick Kerney led the way for the pass rush, each recording two sacks. Safety Deon Grant was all over the field in his Seahawks debut, and Lofa Tatupu deserves credit for his eight tackles and two forced fumbles.
Tampa Bay has reason to worry after the injuries to Garcia and Williams. The Bucs face the New Orleans Saints next week, who are coming off of a big loss themselves.
The Seahawks are hoping that Sunday's win is the first stop on the road to the playoffs. Next week, the 'Hawks travel south to take on division rival Arizona.