Wilson, Seahawks put end to winning streak in perspective
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Russell Wilson huddled in the locker room with two of his receivers, discussing where the Seattle Seahawks go from here.
A 14-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stopped a three-game winning streak that had Wilson and Co. feeling pretty good about the direction of the first-place team.
Losing to the Bucs hasn't changed anything, the quarterback said Sunday after being sacked six times and limited to a season-low 151 yards passing and two interceptions.
''Sometimes you have to have a little struggle to overcome,'' Wilson said. ''We're really positive about what we can do. We've obviously shown it. We've battled, we've battled and we've battled. They played a little bit better than us. Hopefully next week we can do a better job across the board.''
Jameis Winston threw touchdown passes to Mike Evans on Tampa Bay's first two possessions , before an injury-depleted Seahawks defense minimized the damage the rest of the way.
The offense never really got on track, held to 1-yard net passing in the opening half, when Wilson was sacked four times for 19 yards in losses. When it appeared the quarterback might have a chance to rally his team, Jimmy Graham lost a fourth-quarter fumble and the Bucs sealed the victory with their second interception of the day.
''It's a complete team effort. I thought our defensive continued to fight, even though we were down early,'' Wilson said. ''We continued to fight on offense, we continued to fight at the end of the game. That's the character of men that we have. There's nobody that's down at all. We're looking forward to the challenge of getting back next week.''
The Seahawks (7-3-1) were limited to Steven Hauschka's 43-yard field goal and a safety, awarded when Tampa Bay was penalized for holding while blocking for Winston in his end zone.
''They made their plays and we didn't,'' said Wilson, who threw for 902 yards, six TDs and zero interceptions during Seattle's three-game winning streak.
''It's pretty simple. Sometimes you make your jump shots, and some days you don't,'' the quarterback added. ''Unfortunately today, we didn't hit ours. But we will next time.''
The Bucs (6-5) have won three straight to climb back into contention for a playoff berth . Besides stopping Seattle's winning streak, they remained one game behind first-place Atlanta in the NFC South.
Playing just two days after the death of his father, Tampa Bay's Alterraun Verner had one of two interceptions off Wilson. The cornerback's first pick of the season stopped the Seahawks after Wilson drove his team into field-goal range in the final minute of the opening half. The seventh-year pro sobbed on the sideline, where he was embraced by teammates, who've rallied around him.
''I just knew what his response would have been. He would have been smiling and would have been very, very proud,'' Verner said. ''I was definitely thinking about him, and how he would have been reacting.''
Evans scored on receptions of 3 and 23 yards in the opening quarter and finished with eight catches for 104 yards. The seventh overall pick from the 2014 draft joined Joey Galloway and Vincent Jackson as the only receivers in Bucs history with three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He has 73 receptions for 1,020 yards and 10 TDs through 11 games.
''Mike Evans is elite,'' Winston said. ''He's a superstar.''
SHERMAN VS. EVANS
One of the most anticipated individual matchups featured Evans against Seahawks CB Richard Sherman, who felt offensive pass interference should have been called on the receiver's second TD catch. Sherman complained to an official that Evans grabbed his jersey and then pushed off to gain an advantage.
''We have a ton of respect (for Sherman). We tried to do some things to get Mike on the other side, with motion and whatnot,'' Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said. ''Mike came up big. The only disappointment is we just didn't stay with it good enough in the second half.''
A week after leading the Bucs to a road win over Kansas City, Winston delivered another stellar performance. He was 21 of 28 for 220 yards, two TDs and one interception. His TD passes to Evans finished drives of 78 and 62 yards on Tampa Bay's first two possessions of the game. ''He's on a nice little roll,'' Koetter said. ''The first couple drives, you couldn't have scripted it any better.''
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