Russell Wilson had 282 yards passing on 20/26, with 2 TDs, and anywhere from 50-100 yards in pass interference penalties for good measure. All told, it added up to a 31-25 victory where the Seahawks couldn’t run the ball, couldn’t really stop the run on defense, and couldn’t contain Tyrod Taylor, who himself had a fine day in almost leading his team to the huge upset victory.
I don’t really know where to start, except yes I do and it’s the running game. For the last month or more, I’ve been harping on this team to keep its dedication to the run and stop abandoning it so quickly. But, if anyone saw the game last night, it was pretty clear that there was no opening whatsoever for our guys. Christine Michael had a particularly mediocre day. Even with the goalline touchdown, he still finished the day with 1 yard rushing on 5 attempts. I remember one play in particular where he ran behind a Will Tukuafu block, put his head down, and ran straight into the pile for no gain/a loss on the play. Like he wasn’t even trying to find a cut-back lane! Like he was admonished for not following the intended direction of a running play, and so he wanted to show up the coaches by following a busted play to the letter instead of improvising.
But, you know, I can’t put the blame all at his feet! I don’t know how much of this is on the O-Line; I would wager probably a considerable amount of the blame belongs to this unit! After all, it’s not like any of the other running backs were able to move the ball on the ground! We’d all hoped that the floor with this year’s offensive line would at least be higher than last year’s, but I’m not so sure. They need to find a way to come together and gel, or we’re fucked!
I think the bigger shock coming out of this game was how the defense played. I saw more missed tackles last night than I have in the last year and a half combined! We had guys slow to react, we had guys out of position, we had guys playing poor assignment football, and the Bills moved the ball on us with regularity. Now, I will say that the announcers had a valid point with all the different formations and personnel units the Bills use; there’s no way to properly prepare for that kind of crazy offense. And, with Shady McCoy back and healthy, he’s a top 5 running back talent. Put those two things together, and mix in a very mobile quarterback in Taylor, you’re going to see what we had here last night.
Once it was clear the Seahawks couldn’t stop the ground attack, that just opened up so much in the passing game. It was a miracle we stopped them at all!
Bobby Wagner had a fantastic game. K.J. Wright was rock solid as usual. Kelcie McCray was going to draw my ire, but he ended up making some big tackles when it counted. Cliff Avril could only be stopped by their O-Line when they were illegally holding him and the refs weren’t calling shit. Frank Clark also chipped in with a fine game in Michael Bennett’s absence. Damontre Moore was just signed to the team this week and made his presence felt with two interior tackles for loss; that could be a big boost for this line, particularly on passing downs. And, of course, Richard Sherman had the interception, and was involved in one of the strangest end-of-half plays I’ve ever seen.
Should probably mention the Buffalo field goal attempts going into halftime, since that’s all anyone is going to talk about today. Sherman was WAY offsides jumping off the side of the line. He made his way to the football, tapped it with his hand, and collided with the kicker as he attempted the kick. It certainly looked like a sketchy play live, but Sherm’s right, when you’re offsides, you can’t just give them a free shot at the field goal; you’ve got to commit to stopping the whole thing and playing to the whistle. There have been various reports about what the refs SHOULD have called (aside from the offsides penalty), but most people agree it should’ve been something along the lines of unnecessary roughness. But, is it unnecessary roughness when he taps the football en route to hitting the kicker? Is it unnecessary roughness when you don’t even hear the whistles until AFTER he hits the kicker? I mean, if that’s the case, why isn’t every blocked punt and blocked kick an unnecessary roughness penalty?
I’m with Sherm on this one, and quite frankly, I’m with the referee, who after the game said he didn’t think the contact that was made necessitated an unnecessary roughness penalty. The kicker did a good job flopping on the play, which meant he had to miss the next play, which meant the Buffalo offense had to quickly spike the ball, so I’d say part of that is on him. And THEN, they had a delay of game, where the ref was standing over the football – letting both teams substitute – until the 5-second mark on the play clock. What I’ll say in response to that is: what took Buffalo so long to get their kicking unit onto the field? You don’t get all fucking day to get this shit done! Don’t you remember the spike play from right before? Don’t you realize that there’s a 25-second play clock that follows an incomplete pass? IS THIS YOUR FIRST TIME WATCHING AMERICAN FOOTBALL???
To me, it looked like Buffalo was dragging its feet, still bitching about the plays before, and took their sweet-ass time getting their kicking unit onto the field. At which point, you have to let us substitute for our special teams unit, and we don’t have to hurry up for your sake! You should’ve been hurrying up all along, or done a better job of saving your time outs!
So, no, I don’t feel one bit bad for the fact that Buffalo missed out on 3 points at the end of the half (their kicker would go on to miss the kick after the delay of game penalty, FYI). And yes, I’m sure that MIGHT have made the end of game situation a lot different! Assuming they would’ve been down 3 instead of 6, we might be talking about an overtime situation. But, by the same token, what would you rather have if you’re Buffalo? First and goal at the end of the game to grab the win, or a tie game in overtime and take your chances? For as well as Buffalo was able to move the ball on our defense, we were pretty damn good at moving the ball against their wet paper bag secondary. This was the best game we’ve gotten out of Baldwin in many weeks, and Jimmy Graham had some of the finest catches and runs I’ve ever seen out of a tight end (finishing with 8 catches, 103 yards, and 2 one-handed TDs). I’d put an overtime scenario at 50/50 (with heavy emphasis on whoever won the coin toss), but I think if I’m the Bills, I’d rather be down 6 with two minutes to go, deep in Seattle territory! Get that win! A win which would’ve been a tie had they made the field goal going into halftime.
Fortunately for Seattle, when it mattered most, our defense was able to keep from breaking (as they spent all day bending).
Final little bit of kudos to Tyler Lockett, who had some great returns, and forced the Bills into pooch kicking. We had great field position all day, which is not nothing.