Bucs offensive line stepped up on Sunday
Rookie RB Mike James delivered a breakout 158-yard performance Sunday, his most rushing yards in a game since high school.
But what enabled him do so was a strong game by the offensive line, which has been maligned during the season but stepped up against a stout Seattle defense.
"I thought the whole line blocked as well as they have all year," coach Greg Schiano said. " One of the things that was most promising was there were no negative plays, no negative runs, all positive. Whether it was a gain of one, there's still no 2nd and 11s, 12s, 13s, as far as related to the run game. That's what gave us a chance early on."
Schiano inserted Jamon Meredith at left guard to provide another physical presence, and he played well in his first start of the season. The Bucs not only rushed for 205 yards, but led Seattle in time of possession with 36 minutes, 37 seconds.
But Schiano said the offensive line also played a role in the team's struggles on third downs in the second half; after going 8-for-9 in the first half, the Bucs were 1-for-7 in the second. Schiano said pass protection issues prevented QB Mike Glennon from converting some of them.
"There were open receivers, Mike just doesn't have time to get rid of the football," Schiano said. "They have one of the better pass rushing teams in the National Football League, they throw waves of guys at you. We held up better early, then they kind of tweaked what they were doing on the perimeter and got the best of us."