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Sunday, September 19, 2004 - Page updated at 04:49 P.M.
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Hawks hold on for ugly 10-6 win over Buccaneers

The Associated Press

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TAMPA, Fla. - With Shaun Alexander running at less than full speed, Seattle's defense made sure the Seahawks had another successful road trip.

Marcus Trufant returned an interception 41 yards to set up Matt Hasselbeck's second-quarter touchdown pass to Koren Robinson and the Seahawks beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6 Sunday to open a season with consecutive road wins for the first time in 10 years.

Building on a solid performance in a 21-7 win over New Orleans the previous week, the Seahawks (2-0) forced Tampa Bay's sputtering offense to settle for field goals on two drives that ended near the Seattle goal line.

Rookie Michael Boulware put the finishing touches on the victory, intercepting Chris Simms to end the second-year quarterback's bid to pull off a comeback with help from two roughing the passer penalties and a pass interference call that helped Tampa Bay (0-2) move from its own 12 to the Seattle 31 in the closing minutes.

Alexander, playing with a bruised bone on his right knee, was limited to 45 yards on 17 carries after rushing for 135 and scoring three TDs against the Saints. He was questionable to play after sitting out two days of practice and looked tentative after gaining 12 yards on his first carry.

Hasselbeck took up the slack, throwing for 147 yards, including his 27-yard scoring pass to Robinson. Trufant set up the score by intercepting Brad Johnson's pass and racing up the left sideline to the Tampa Bay 29 on the last play of the first quarter.

Josh Brown also kicked a 44-yard field goal for Seattle, which was 2-6 on the road loss season, compared to 8-0 at home.

The Seahawks flew 4,202 miles on its New Orleans road trip and many questioned if another long trip (4,970 miles) would hamper their chances of winning again.

Simms replaced Johnson, making his NFL regular-season debut early in the second quarter. He completed 21 of 32 passes for 175 yards, but he also was sacked four times and lost a fumble, in addition to throwing the interception at the end.

The son of former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms was a third round draft pick in 2003, but didn't play a down as a rookie. He was inactive for Tampa Bay's 16-10 season-opening loss at Washington after an impressive preseason in which Gruden never declared a winner in his race with Brian Griese for the backup job.

The second-year pro entered the game to a chorus of cheers from the crowd of 65,089 that vented its frustration with Johnson and an offense that also failed to score a touchdown against the Redskins by booing virtually any play that didn't produce a first down.
Simms' first pass was tipped by a defensive lineman and nearly intercepted, but he settled down on Tampa Bay's next possession and completed five straight passes — none for more than 17 yards — to help the Bucs march from their own 23 to the Seattle 15.

After scrambling for 12 yards to the 3, the drive stalled when Seahawks safety Terreal Bierria stopped Jamel White short of the goal line on a reception on second down and Simms fumbled trying to hand off to Mike Alstott on third down.

Simms recovered the loose ball at the 6, and Tampa Bay settled for Martin Gramatica's 24-yard field goal.

Seattle stopped another promising drive after Simms threw 30 yards to Charles Lee at the Seahawks 6. Four plays later, Gramatica kicked a 27-yard field goal to trim the Seahawks' lead to 10-6.

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