Shaun King finally got into an NFL game, and had the time of his young life. Tampa Bay's defense had a lot of fun, too.
King made his NFL debut after Trent Dilfer was knocked out of the game with a broken right collarbone, and the rookie quarterback threw a touchdown pass as the Buccaneers ended Seattle's five-game winning streak with a 16-3 victory today.
Tampa Bay's defense, led by Warren Sapp, made life miserable for Seahawks quarterback Jon Kitna. He threw a career-high five interceptions and lost a fumble.
Tampa Bay (7-4) won its fourth straight and is tied with Minnesota and Detroit for first place in the NFC Central. The Seahawks (8-3) had their lead in the AFC West reduced to two games.
King, a second-round draft choice from Tulane, got to play in his first NFL game when Seahawks defensive end Phillip Daniels sacked Dilfer on the second play of the second half.
Dilfer went to the dressing room for X-rays. He returned to the sidelines in street clothes with his shoulder in a sling to watch King throw a two-yard scoring pass to Patrick Hape with 2 minutes 39 seconds gone in the final period.
It was the Buccaneers' first offensive touchdown in three weeks.
"I wasn't scared, I wasn't nervous--I was excited," King said.
Rookie Martin Gramatica kicked his third field goal of the game, a 37-yarder, with nine minutes left for the Buccaneers. It came after Sapp sacked Kitna, then recovered his fumble at the Seattle 27.
The Buccaneers were ahead 6-3 at halftime on two field goals by Gramatica. Gramatica tied the score at 3 with a 42-yarder on the second play of the second quarter.
Kitna entered the game as the AFC's second-rated quarterback with six interceptions this season, but he was 19 for 43 for 197 yards with five interceptions.
"We just put him in positions that made him uncomfortable," Sapp said of Kitna. "As long as we eliminated the big play, we felt we'd be fine."
King completed 3 of 7 passes for 32 yards and one touchdown; Dilfer was 5 for 10 for 50 yards.