Jeff Garcia has his touch back. His job, too.
Garcia completed 26 of 37 passes for 310 yards, including a
47-yard touchdown strike to Antonio Bryant on Tampa Bay’s opening
drive, and the Buccaneers beat the struggling Seattle Seahawks
20-10 on Sunday night.
TAMPA, FLA. – Jeff Garcia has his touch back. His job, too.
Garcia completed 26 of 37 passes for 310 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown strike to Antonio Bryant on Tampa Bay’s opening drive, and the Buccaneers beat the struggling Seattle Seahawks 20-10 on Sunday night.
Making his second straight start in place of Brian Griese, Garcia helped the NFC South-leading Bucs (5-2) remain unbeaten through four home games.
Garcia clearly outplayed fellow backup-turned-starter Seneca Wallace, the Seahawks’ third quarterback in three weeks. Garcia was 14-of-17 by halftime, helping the Bucs take a 17-0 lead, and the outcome was never in doubt. He was sacked once and completed passes to 10 different receivers.
Bucs coach Jon Gruden said Garcia will continue to start. The 38-year-old Garcia made his fourth Pro Bowl last season, his first with the Bucs, but lost the starting job earlier this season.
“His mobility was a factor tonight, and he created a lot of opportunities running and throwing for a lot of people,” Gruden said.
Wallace, meanwhile, never got rolling. He finished 12-of-23 for 73 yards, with a 2-yard touchdown pass to John Carlson with 1:55 left, and had two turnovers in the second quarter. Maurice Morris ran for 56 yards for Seattle (1-5) in its third straight loss.
“Our confidence on offense isn’t where it should be,” Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said. “Now we have to keep them going, somehow, some way, and get that confidence we used to have.”
Bryant finished with 115 yards receiving, and Earnest Graham added a 1-yard touchdown run for the Buccaneers, a fitting up-the-gut score on a night where Tampa Bay honored retired fullback Mike Alstott with a halftime ceremony.
The Bucs had a 402-176 edge in total yards, and forced the Seahawks into settling for a 26-yard field goal by Olindo Mare in the third quarter on a drive to the 8-yard line.
Tampa Bay controlled the ball for nearly 42 minutes.
“The thing about it was we were tough against the run, and we knew that with a young quarterback, they were going to have some timing issues throwing the ball downfield,” Bucs end Kevin Carter said.
The Bucs got their longest pass play of the season to open the scoring, the 47-yard hookup from Garcia to Bryant – who hadn’t caught a TD pass since Dec. 3, 2006.
Graham’s score capped a six-play, 59-yard drive to give Tampa Bay a 14-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Matt Bryant added two field goals for the Bucs.