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Originally published Monday, October 20, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Seahawks' passing falls short

Tampa Bay frustrates Seattle's offense, led by replacement quarterback Seneca Wallace in his first start in two years.

Special to The Seattle Times

TAMPA, Fla. — Seventy-three yards of passing offense will make an offensive unit awfully defensive.

That was the mood around the frustrated Seahawks' locker room after a 20-10 thrashing by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday night.

Players were quick to say the quarterback position and the offense is sound without Matt Hasselbeck. But the numbers tell a different story.

Seneca Wallace, in his first start in two years and fifth of his career, finished 12 for 23 for 73 yards and struggled mightily with errant throws Sunday.

"[Charlie Frye is] a quarterback. Seneca's a quarterback. The next man has to be ready to play," center Chris Spencer said. "We're not going to sit here and make excuses. We have the guys to get it done."

Left tackle Walter Jones said the Seahawks only needed a few better bounces and early breaks to change the game against a dominating Bucs defense.

"The Bucs put us in a situation where they could predict what we were going to do," Jones said. "You tip your hats to them. But we need to be the ones controlling the game against a defense like they have.

"On both sides of the ball we had chances to make big plays early and put the game in our control, and it didn't happen."

The Bucs (5-2) have been a nightmare for inexperienced quarterbacks this season. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw three interceptions and was knocked out of part of the game in a 30-21 loss in Tampa, and Falcons QB Matt Ryan threw two interceptions in a 24-9 loss here.

Sunday was certainly Wallace's toughest start of his career. His previous low for passing yards as a starter was 161, when he rallied Seattle for a late home win against the Rams in 2006.

Wallace said the offense's struggles were about rhythm.

"It's a rhythm offense," he said. "It's like basketball. When a shooter gets his rhythm, it's hard to stop him. We never got our rhythm.

"They had a good scheme. They do the same thing to anybody else. Jake Delhomme played them last week and they were tough on him. We got in our two-minute offense and moved the ball and got a touchdown. So hopefully we got a little bit to carry over."

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