MUNICH ― Leonard Fournette hadn’t had much success running the football this season prior to Sunday.
His career as a passer isn’t going so well, either.
Fournette attempted a pass to Tom Brady in the third quarter but was intercepted by Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen after the Bucs quarterback, who had been lined up wide to the left, slipped and fell while coming back to the ball.
The Bucs lined up in the same formation five plays earlier, when Fournette took the direct shotgun snap and decided to run the football, gaining 2 yards around right end.
“I was hoping to be wide open, and I probably was on the first one, and I think they were pretty clued in on the second one,” Brady said. “They said ‘Cover him! Cover him!’ and I was on the sideline and tried to yell, ‘Lenny, no!’
“But it was too late, and the ball went up in the air and I was trying to just, whatever, jump up and knock it down. But I ended up falling on my face.”
Fournette was more effective on the ground, carrying 14 times for 57 yards and a touchdown, part of a 161-yard Bucs rushing effort.
Brady, meanwhile, continues to look for the first receiving touchdown of his 23-year career.
“I wasn’t very close (Sunday),” he said. “Unfortunately, that cornerback is a former college receiver who jumps a lot higher than me and is much more athletic.”
Head coach Todd Bowles defended the call after the game.
“Had (Brady) not slipped, you would’ve seen his 42-inch vertical,” Bowles said, laughing.
Neither Chris Godwin nor Julio Jones have spent much time in the end zone this season, but both scored touchdowns against the Seahawks.
Jones was left alone for a 31-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter. Godwin caught a 4-yard scoring pass from Brady in the fourth quarter that proved to be the game-winner.
“It felt great doing whatever I can do to basically help my team out, to get things going,” Jones said. “My number was called early, tried to make a play, I was wide open, so I was just like, I’ve got to score, I’ve got to do something with it.”
Godwin, who reached the end zone for the first time this season, led the Bucs with six catches for 71 yards.
“It feels really good,” Godwin said. “It’s been a little while since I’ve been in the end zone. Feels like it’s been pretty elusive for me. But it feels good to be back in there, and what a great environment to do it in.”
Bad time for a bye?
Following back-to-back wins, the Bucs (5-5) lead the Falcons (4-6) by a game in the NFC South. With Tampa Bay entering its bye week, Bowles excused his players from practice until a week from Monday.
He said it may be a bad time for them to stop playing.
“Feels great to go into the bye week with a win,” Bowles said. “Obviously, two wins, so hopefully we’re trending forward. You almost don’t want to have a bye since you’ve won two in a row, but we’ve got some guys nicked up (that) we need to get healthy, so we’ll get some rest, and we’ll get ready for the stretch run.”
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Bowles was asked how the Bucs turned things around after losing five of six games before the two-game win streak.
“I can tell you that after Week 17,” he said. “But it’s a good start.”
Fournette didn’t finished the game due to a hip pointer injury, Bowles said. The Bucs also lost rookie cornerback Zyon McCollom, who suffered a concussion after making a special teams tackle.
By the numbers
24 Times the Bucs ran in the first half, matching their most rushes in any half with Brady under center (according to ESPN Stats & Info).
29 Length (in yards) of Rachaad White’s third-quarter run in which he flattened Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs. It was Tampa Bay’s longest run from scrimmage this season.
31 Total career touchdowns for Godwin, tying Kevin House for sixth-most from scrimmage in franchise history.
399 Consecutive passes without an interception by Tom Brady before his fourth-quarter throw was picked over the middle by linebacker Cody Barton.
402 NFL record for consecutive passes without a pick, held by Aaron Rodgers.
Times staff writer Joey Knight contributed to this report.
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