Sluggish Seahawks slog past Tampa Bay

Posted: Monday, September 20, 2004


  AP Photo/Steve Nesius Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Koren Robinson (81) goes horizontal to pull in a fourth quarter pass from quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in front of Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brian Kelly during the fourth quarter Sunday in Tampa, Fla. The Seahawks defeated the Buccaneers 10-6. AP Photo/Steve Nesius

AP Photo/Steve Nesius Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Koren Robinson (81) goes horizontal to pull in a fourth quarter pass from quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in front of Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brian Kelly during the fourth quarter Sunday in Tampa, Fla. The Seahawks defeated the Buccaneers 10-6.

AP Photo/Steve Nesius

TAMPA, Fla. Mike Holmgren caught himself before he got too critical of his Seattle Seahawks.

Mistakes or not, they are unbeaten after starting a season with consecutive wins on the road for the first time in 10 years, including Sunday's 10-6 victory over the punchless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

''I wasn't particularly pleased with how we played offense, but I'll take that on my shoulders,'' Holmgren said after his defense forced three turnovers and set up the Seahawks' only touchdown.

''But we're 2-0. This is a tough place to play. I feel great about the win. I just wish we'd have executed a little better on offense.''

With Shaun Alexander running at less than full speed, Seattle's high-octane attack was held to just 182 yards 89 fewer than a sputtering Tampa Bay offense that has failed to get into the end zone in two games.

Marcus Trufant returned an interception 41 yards to set up Matt Hasselbeck's second-quarter touchdown pass to Koren Robinson.

Rookie Michael Boulware put the finishing touches on the victory, intercepting Chris Simms to end the second-year quarterback's bid to pull off a comeback after a bizarre sequence of penalties that went against the Seahawks.

Alexander, playing with a bruised bone on his right knee, was limited to 45 yards on 17 carries after rushing for 135 and scoring three TDs against the Saints. He was questionable to play after sitting out two days of practice and looked tentative after gaining 12 yards on his first carry.

Colts 31, Titans 17

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Peyton Manning threw for 254 yards and two touchdowns to win the first game between the NFL's defending co-MVP quarterbacks, leading Indianapolis to a 31-17 victory over Tennessee on Sunday.

Steve McNair was 25-of-39 for 273 yards and ran for a TD, but was intercepted in the end zone, sacked three times and had his final drive ended when he was sacked and fumbled in the last minute.

Edgerrin James ran for two touchdowns and 124 yards as the Colts (1-1) avoided losing consecutive games in the regular season for the first time since the middle of the 2002 season now a span of 26 games.

The Titans had plenty of chances to bury the Colts in a deep hole before a record crowd of 68,932 in this early AFC South showdown between the only teams to win this division since realignment.

But they couldn't finish what they started. They turned the ball over on downs at the Indy 4, and settled for a field goal on another deep drive into Indianapolis territory after two dropped passes in the end zone.

The worst came when Nick Harper took the ball away from Pro Bowl receiver Derrick Mason in the end zone to end another possession in the fourth quarter. Manning took advantage by leading the Colts 80 yards in 11 plays, and James finished it with a 4-yard run for a 24-17 lead that was Indianapolis' first in the game.

Bears 21, Packers 10

GREEN BAY, Wis. Mike Brown's 95-yard fumble return for a touchdown sparked the Bears to only the third win over their longtime rivals in their last 21 meetings.

It was Brown's fifth defensive score, a team record, and the second-longest fumble return in Bears history, surpassed only by team founder George Halas' 98-yard return in 1923. It was also the second-longest fumble return for a score ever given up by Green Bay.

When Lovie Smith was hired as Bears coach on Jan. 15, he declared his top priority was knocking off the Packers and that he knew just how to do it. The last two times he'd faced Green Bay was as the St. Louis Rams' defensive coordinator, and the Packers committed a combined 10 turnovers in those games.

Brett Favre threw two interceptions Sunday, and the killer was Ahman Green's fumble just before halftime that Brown returned for the touchdown.

Jaguars 7, Broncos 6

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Quentin Griffin was a surprise last week. He was a disappointment Sunday.

Griffin fumbled on the 23-yard line with about a minute to play, allowing the Jaguars to escape with the victory.

Jake Plummer drove Denver into field goal range with less than a minute to play, thanks partly to defensive end Lionel Barnes' personal foul penalty. The Broncos (1-1) had a third-and-10 on the 23 what would have been a 40-yard field goal for Jason Elam. But Griffin bobbled the handoff, Akin Ayodele recovered and the Jaguars ran out the remaining 31 seconds to improve to 2-0 behind a suffocating defense.

The Jaguars held Griffin to 66 yards, extending their streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher to an NFL-best 17 games. Griffin had 156 yards last week against Kansas City.

Falcons 34, Rams 17

ATLANTA Michael Vick brought his running shoes to the Falcons' home opener, but it was the Atlanta defense that saved the game.

Defensive end Brady Smith scored a fourth-quarter touchdown when he stripped the ball from Marc Bulger in the end zone and caught the fumble in the air. Aaron Beasley ended the Rams' next drive with an interception.

Warrick Dunn ran for two touchdowns for Atlanta before leaving with a sprained left knee.

Vick had 12 carries for 109 yards, the third 100-yard rushing game of his career, and Atlanta (2-0) beat the Rams (1-1) for the first time since Atlanta's 1998 Super Bowl season. Vick was 14-of-19 for 179 yards and a touchdown.

Bulger completed 24 of 31 passes for 285 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but he was sacked five times. The Rams were held to 30 yards rushing.

Ravens 30, Steelers 13

BALTIMORE The Ravens ran over the hated Steelers in a performance that belatedly justified their stature as the team to beat in the AFC North.

Jamal Lewis rushed for 62 yards and two touchdowns and Chester Taylor added a career-high 76 yards on the ground to lead Baltimore (1-1).

Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox went 4-for-13 for 67 yards before being forced out in the third quarter with an elbow injury. He was replaced by first-round draft pick Ben Roethlisberger, who threw fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Antwaan Randle El and Hines Ward.

But those scores came after the Steelers (1-1) had fallen into a 20-0 hole, and the rookie's second interception was returned 51 yards for a touchdown by Chris McAlister with 2:56 remaining.

Lions 28, Texans 16

DETROIT Joey Harrington beat David Carr in the first matchup of the top two quarterbacks from the 2002 draft.

Harrington threw three touchdown passes, two thanks to rookie Roy Williams' spectacular catches, to lead the Lions to their first 2-0 start since 2000. The Texans are 0-2 for the first time in their three seasons.

Harrington, the No. 3 pick two years ago, was 18-of-25 for 176 yards with one interception in Detroit's home opener.

Carr, taken No. 1 overall in Houston's first draft, overcame an awful start to complete 23 of 34 passes for 313 yards with two TDs and one interception.

Giants 20, Redskins 14

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. The Washington Redskins gift-wrapped Tom Coughlin's first win as Giants coach.

Linebacker Barrett Green scored on a 16-yard fumble return and New York forced seven turnovers to hand Joe Gibbs his first loss in his second stint with Washington.

Kurt Warner threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Tim Carter and Steve Christie kicked two field goals in a game the Giants (1-1) had to sweat out despite having a plus-6 edge in turnovers.

Patrick Ramsey, who took over in the third quarter when Mark Brunell went out with a hamstring injury, threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Clinton Portis with 12:01 to play. But he had two other drives in New York territory stopped on interceptions by Gibril Wilson and Brent Alexander.

The win snapped a franchise record-tying nine-game losing streak for the Giants, who closed last season with eight straight losses under Jim Fassel.

Panthers 28, Chiefs 17

KANSAS CITY, Mo. DeShaun Foster did more than just sub for the injured Stephen Davis, he came within 4 yards of erasing Davis' team record for yards rushing in a game.

Running around and through Kansas City's soft defense, Foster carried 32 times for 174 yards, including a team-record 71-yard burst, in leading the defending NFC champion Panthers.

Davis is out indefinitely with a knee sprain.

The Panthers (1-1) came in missing their top two offensive threats Davis and wide receiver Steve Smith but had little trouble with Kansas City's poor-tackling and mistake-prone defense.

Saints 30, 49ers 27

NEW ORLEANS The Saints survived it all: Hurricane Ivan, the loss of Deuce McAllister, and the 49ers.

Aaron Brooks rallied the Saints in the final two minutes, taking them 59 yards and hitting Donte' Stallworth for a 16-yard touchdown. Ashley Ambrose intercepted Ken Dorsey's pass with :04 left to preserve the victory.

The 49ers got to the Saints 1 when Terry Jackson pulled in a pass, but offensive pass interference against Brian Jennings nullified the play. On the next play, Ambrose grabbed Dorsey's pass.

The Saints lost running back Deuce McAllister for at least this game. The team's biggest offensive weapon sprained his right ankle on the third play and spent the rest of the day on the sideline.

Raiders 13, Bills 10

OAKLAND, Calif. Jerry Rice's streak of 274 games with a catch ended, while Ronald Curry caught five passes for 89 yards and a touchdown in the Raiders' victory.

Rice is still a starter, but has said he's willing to accept a lesser role for the Raiders (1-1) if it helps the team rebound from last season's 4-12 debacle. He didn't get a pass thrown his way until 2 1/2 minutes before halftime and that was the only one.

The last time Rice didn't catch a pass was Dec. 1, 1985. Rice was substituted almost every other play during Oakland's second-to-last drive. He came out with 2:37 left during a Buffalo (0-2) timeout and threw his helmet to the ground, causing it to bounce over a metal bench. He appeared to yell in frustration and paced the sideline for several minutes.

Patriots 23, Cardinals 12

TEMPE, Ariz. Make it 17 victories in a row and counting for the Patriots.

A sometimes sloppy performance by the Super Bowl champions still was enough to defeat the sputtering Cardinals. Corey Dillon gained 158 yards on 32 carries and Tom Brady threw two first-half touchdown passes to Daniel Graham for New England (2-0).

Eugene Wilson intercepted Josh McCown twice, leading to 10 New England points.

After a bye next week, the Patriots can tie the NFL record of 18 straight victories with a win at Buffalo on Oct. 3.

Former Cardinals safety Pat Tillman, killed in combat in Afghanistan, was honored in an emotional halftime ceremony in Arizona's home opener.

Jets 34, Chargers 28

SAN DIEGO It didn't take Curtis Martin and the Jets long to knock the Chargers back to reality.

Martin scored on the Jets' first two possessions and became the team's all-time rushing leader. He scored on runs of 1 and 2 yards and finished with 119 yards on 32 carries. With 8,185 yards in seven seasons with the Jets, he broke Freeman McNeil's old team record of 8,074.

Martin has 11,984 yards in 10 NFL seasons, good for 11th on the career list. Next up is Thurman Thomas with 12,074.

Chad Pennington threw two touchdown passes for the Jets (2-0), and safety Erik Coleman had an interception and a fumble recovery.

Cowboys 19, Browns 12

IRVING, Texas Vinny Testaverde threw for 322 yards and Eddie George ran for 61 yards and a touchdown in a victory that had all the makings of a blowout if not for mistake after mistake by the Cowboys.

Dallas (1-1) reached at least the Cleveland 43-yard line on 10 of its 11 drives, but turned that into only two touchdowns and a field goal. The rest of the drives were squandered by four turnovers (including three late interceptions of Testaverde), a missed field goal and two punts.

Add in some silly and ill-timed penalties and the Browns (1-1) were in the game to the end. Yet quarterback Jeff Garcia couldn't muster the spark he showed in winning his Cleveland debut, throwing three interceptions and going just 8-of-28 for 71 yards and a quarterback rating of 0.0.

Bengals 16, Dolphins 13

CINCINNATI Chad Johnson wriggled open for a 20-yard catch that put the Bengals in range for Shayne Graham's 39-yard field goal to win it.

Graham's kick with 2 seconds left completed Carson Palmer's first game-winning drive, a modest achievement on a night in which neither inexperienced quarterback did much.

Palmer led the Bengals (1-1) 59 yards to the winning kick, completing 7 of his 8 throws.The Bengals failed to score a touchdown behind Palmer; linebacker Brian Simmons returned an interception 50 yards early in the second half for the only such score.

A.J. Feeley threw a tipped 4-yard touchdown pass to Chris Chambers with 3:39 left, and Lamont Brightful returned a punt to the Cincinnati 31 before Olindo Mare's 47-yard field goal tied it for Miami (0-2) with 1:53 to go.

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